Afghan security personnel inspect the site of a bomb explosion in front of the Kabul University on Friday. Agence France-Presse
A powerful bomb blast outside the gates of Kabul University in the Afghan capital on Friday killed at least eight people and wounded 33, as students and lawyers waited to take an examination, officials said.
Taliban militants are carrying out almost daily attacks, despite reported progress in efforts by the United States to broker an end to Afghanistan’s nearly 18-year-old war.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Friday’s blast. On Thursday Taliban insurgents set off two car bombs outside police headquarters in the southern city of Kandahar, killing at least 12 and wounding more than 80. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said he was not aware of any Taliban involvement in Friday’s attack.
The United Arab Emirates has strongly condemned the explosion.
In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFAIC) reiterated the UAE’s firm stance against all forms of violence, terrorism and extremism, targeting all without distinction between religion and race.
The statement called on the international community to unite to confront this serious scourge and eradicate it from its roots to ensure the security and peace of the world.
The Ministry expressed its sincere condolences to the families of the victims while wishing a speedy recovery to those injured in the attack.
Health ministry spokesman Wahidullah Mayar said there were students among the 33 injured taken to hospital after the blast, which a student at the university campus said occurred while some were waiting to take a law exam.
An eyewitness and an interior ministry official said a vehicle caught fire after a bomb stuck to its underside exploded.
“The blast happened when hundreds of students were entering the campus. We were scheduled to appear for the law exam but the blast shook all of us,” said Karima Wardak, a student at the Kabul University.
A police team defused a second bomb placed near the explosion site, Kabul police spokesman Faramarz Firdaws said.
Also on Friday, a roadside mine killed five people who were riding in a car in central Ghazni province.
The heavily militarised Afghan capital remains one of the highest-profile targets for both the Taliban and the so-called Daesh group, with both regularly launching devastating attacks that often kill and maim civilians.
Bahar Mehr, the interior ministry official, said five people had been killed including a traffic police officer.
“The wounded were law students gathered for (an examination). We do not know how many students had gathered there,” he said.
The blast had been caused by a sticky bomb, he said, a common threat in Kabul where criminals and insurgents often slap explosives under vehicles.
Local media reports said police had been pursuing the vehicle when it detonated.
“The university and the examination ceremony were not the target of the attack, and we are investigating,” Firdaws Faramarz, Kabul police spokesman, told TV network TOLO.
Last week, Daesh claimed responsibility for a suicide attack at a wedding ceremony in Nangarhar province.
Separately, the Taliban gave “permission” Friday for a Swedish aid group to reopen its clinics west of Kabul, after the insurgents ordered the facilities’ closure over a controversial Afghan army raid.
Afghan officials have said little about the raid in Wardak province the night of July 8-9, when commandos allegedly killed at least four people including a lab worker, a guard, and two caregivers.
In the wake of the assault on the clinic, run by the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan, the Taliban ordered the agency to close 42 of its 77 facilities. In a statement, the insurgents had said the closure was ordered due to “some problems” and that the Swedish aid group “did not remain impartial”.
The Taliban went on to blame the raid on both Afghan and US forces.
The group reversed its decision Friday, saying their “health commission has given them permission restart their operations”.
The SCA had condemned the clinic raid through a press release, calling it a gross violation of international humanitarian law.