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Bomb Attacks Rattle Kabul, Killing At Least 51


Huge Blast Rocks Kabul
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WATCH: Huge Blast Rocks Kabul

Fifteen more fatalities were confirmed on August 8 from a wave of bomb attacks in Kabul the day before, raising the death toll to 51 in attacks that also wounded nearly 300 people.

The three separate attacks on August 7 marked the bloodiest day in Kabul since the withdrawal of most international combat troops at the end of 2015.

In Washington, the White House said National Security Advisor Susan Rice had spoken with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani by telephone to express U.S. condolences.

It was also the first major attack since confirmation of Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar's death last week.

Divisions have broken out within the Taliban leadership after the appointment of Mullah Akhtar Mansur, a relative moderate, as new leader. Previously seen as open to reviving peace talks, Mullah Mansur has since pledged to press on with the insurgency.

The first attack occurred when a powerful truck bomb tore through the city center just after midnight on August 7, killing 15 civilians and wounding 240 others.

Less than 24 hours later, a suicide attacker dressed in police uniform blew himself up at the entrance of a police academy in Kabul -- killing 27 and injuring 28.

Police say the attacker was wearing a police academy student's uniform when he walked into a group of recruits outside of the academy and detonated his explosives-laden vest.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

NATO also confirmed that eight civilian contractors and one of its service members were killed in an overnight battle at a base used by U.S. special forces in Kabul called Camp Integrity, near Kabul airport. The facility was attacked with a car bomb before the battle with insurgents broke out.

At least 15 people were killed in this truck bombing in Kabul early on August 7.
At least 15 people were killed in this truck bombing in Kabul early on August 7.

The military alliance also said two militants were killed in that battle.

Foreign troops were also deployed in a gunbattle near Afghanistan's Counternarcotics Ministry in Kabul.

An Afghan security source told RFE/RL the foreign troops sealed off the ministry and replaced Afghan security forces there because foreign advisers were thought to be inside the ministry building.

The battle erupted at the bombings nearby, and gunfire continued into the early hours of August 8.

Under a security agreement between Kabul and the United States, most U.S. troops in Afghanistan serve a primary role as advisers and trainers for Afghan forces.

But U.S.-led coalition forces have the authority to take over security operations in order to protect foreign advisers in the country.

There was no confirmation of the nationalities of the foreigners thought to be sheltering inside the Counternarcotics Ministry while the gunbattle raged outside late on August 7.

But the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) works together with Afghanistan's Counternarcotics Police and Interior Ministry to support investigations targeting major narcotics trafficking organizations that support Afghan militants.

With reporting by AFP, AP, and Reuters