Asia - Pacific

Afghanistan: 9 killed in Taliban attack on foreign NGO

Headquarters US non-profit group targeted by Taliban militants

Shadi Khan Saif   | 09.05.2019
Afghanistan: 9 killed in Taliban attack on foreign NGO

KABUL, Afghanistan 

At least nine people have been killed in Wednesday's suicide and gun attack on a U.S. non-governmental organization headquartered in the capital Kabul, police confirmed Thursday.

Four Taliban insurgents stormed the office of the Counterpart International downtown Kabul’s Shahr-e-Nau area following a suicide car bombing. Clashes between the attackers and the Afghan security forces continued for hours in the heart of the capital’s bustling shopping and dining district.

Interior Ministry spokesman Nusrat Rahimi initially told Anadolu Agency that nine people were injured in the attack. However, the ministry said nine people were killed, including three civilians, four members of the Afghan National Civil Order Police, one member of the Special Forces and one private security guard of the non-profit group.

Nearly two dozen civilians were injured following the attack in a densely populated area surrounded by a number of public and private offices and commercial entities.

Rahimi said close to 200 employees of Counterpart were rescued.

Claiming responsibility, Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahed, said in a statement that the organization was targeted for their alleged "harmful western activities" inside Afghanistan.

The attack has been widely condemned.

Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani dubbed it as an "unforgivable crime". In a statement, he urged the Taliban to respect the calls for peace or "get ready to face the wrath of the Afghan security forces".

Ann Hudock, the president and CEO of Counterpart, said in a statement the attack targeted innocent civilians, development professionals who dedicate their lives to improving the lives of Afghanistan’s most vulnerable, including women, youth, and the disabled.

A number of NGOs have been attacked by insurgents in Afghanistan over the past many years, but Wednesday's attack was the first of its kind to target Counterpart that has been serving in Afghanistan for the past 14 years.

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