A twin suicide bombing in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul Monday killed at least 26 people, including nine journalists, and wounded nearly 50 others.
Islamic State through its “Amaq” news agency claimed responsibility for the deadliest ever assault on media workers in Afghanistan.
Local media watchdog, Afghan Journalist Safety Committee (AJSC), while confirming the media-related fatalities, strongly condemned the attack.
Two female journalists, including Maharram Durrani from Radio Free Europe were also among the dead. French news agency AFP has confirmed the death of its chief photographer in Kabul, Shah Marai. Two male staffers from RFE were also killed.
A leading Afghan television station, ‘1 TV News,’ has also confirmed the killing of two staffers in Monday’s attack.
Afghan authorities and witnesses said the attack began during early morning rush hour with a suicide bomber on motorbike blowing himself up near an office of the National Directorate of Security, the country’s intelligence agency.
When rescue workers and media crews gathered at the site minutes later, a second bomber disguised as journalist detonated explosives strapped to his body, causing most of the casualties, said Kabul police spokesman Hashmat Istanikzai.
“We condemn in the strongest terms possible the cowardly attacks in Kabul by two suicide bombers that killed and injured Afghan forces and innocent Afghan citizens, including journalists,” said General John Nicholson, who commands U.S. forces and NATO’s non-combatant mission in the country.
Hours later, Afghan officials said a suicide car bombing killed at least eleven people in southern Kandahar province and wounded 16 others, including five Romanian soldiers. An area police spokesman told VOA the attack targeted a foreign forces convoy. He added that those killed were all students at a nearby religious seminary, or madrasa.
The powerful explosion also wounded nine civilians, including several women.
There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the bombing in Kandahar where the U.S.-military operates a major base. Southern Afghan provinces are where Taliban insurgents control vast territory and frequently stage attacks on local forces and their international counterparts.