Five Killed, 16 Wounded in Suicide Attack Near Kabul's International Airport

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Afghan policeman at the site of a blast near entrance of Kabul's international airport. August 10, 2015. Credit: AFP

A suicide car bombing at a busy roundabout near the entrance to Kabul's international airport on Monday killed at five people and wounded 16, officials said.

The Kabul provincial police chief, Abdul Rahman Rahimi, told The Associated Press that a car packed with explosives blew up at the busy intersection. He also confirmed the latest casualty figures.

A huge plume of black smoke rose above the city after the midday blast, as police, soldiers and ambulances rushed to the site, which is usually thronging with pedestrians and vehicles.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said on Twitter that the militant group was behind the attack. He said it was aimed at "foreigners."
The charred remains of a car lay on its side near the roundabout. Nearby shops were destroyed and the windows of a wedding hall were shattered, witnesses said.

Huge blast hits near the entrance of Kabul's international airport, in Kabul on August 10, 2015. Credit: AFP

The entrance to the airport is often clogged with traffic, as vehicles must stop at a number of checkpoints.

Kabul has been rocked by a series of attacks in recent days that have killed scores of people and wounded hundreds.

The latest violence comes after the Afghan intelligence service said the Taliban's longtime leader Mullah Mohammad Omar had been dead for more than two years. The disclosure of his death, later confirmed by the Taliban, triggered an internal succession dispute and raised questions about the future direction of the insurgency.

In the wake of the deadly attack, the Afghan president called on Pakistan on Monday to crack down on the Taliban. In a televised address, Ashraf Ghani also blamed neighboring Pakistan for what he described as Islamabad's support to the insurgents whose war against Kabul is now nearing its 14th year, and said he was sending a delegation to Islamabad later this week to demand a stop to this.

"We know they have sanctuaries there, we know they are active there," Ghani said, referring to Taliban leaders living in Pakistan. "We need all those activities to be stopped."

There was no immediate reaction from Islamabad. Pakistan has in the past denied supporting the Taliban.

Since assuming office a year ago, Ghani has pursued closer relations with Pakistan, which wields influence over the insurgent group, hoping that it could use that influence to bring the Taliban into peace negotiations.

Pakistan hosted the first official round of Kabul-Taliban negotiations last month, but a second round that was due at the end of last month was indefinitely postponed after the Afghan government announced the death over two years ago of the reclusive Taliban leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar.

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