January 20, 2016
KABUL: Seven people were killed on Wednesday when a suicide bomber struck a minibus carrying employees of popular Afghan TV channel TOLO, just months after the Taliban declared the network a legitimate “military target”.
The bombing near the Russian embassy in downtown Kabul also left 24 people wounded, in the latest in a wave of attacks despite an international push to jumpstart Taliban peace talks. No group has so far claimed responsibility for the bombing, which marks the first major attack on a media organization in Afghanistan.
“Our office bus taking TOLO staff home came under attack,” an employee at the channel told AFP, requesting anonymity.
The bombing left some staff members burning inside the vehicle, another employee said, adding that the bus was mostly filled with behind-the-scenes workers from the channel's graphics and dubbing departments.
The loud explosion sent a plume of smoke rising in the sky, with ambulances and firefighters rushing to the scene which was littered with charred debris.
The interior ministry said the attack left seven people dead and 24 others wounded.
The Taliban in October declared TOLO and 1TV, both privately run news stations as legitimate “military targets”.
The group said the move was in response to their reports claiming that Taliban fighters raped women at a female hostel in Kunduz, after the group briefly captured the northern city in late September last year.
The Taliban rejected the reports as fabrications, saying they were examples of propaganda by the “satanic networks”.
The attack, which highlights the growing dangers faced by journalists in Afghanistan, comes just two days after a second round of a four-country meeting in Kabul aimed at reviving talks with the Taliban. - AFP
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