Afghan President Ashraf Ghani visits Ghazni after Taliban siege

Clay Curtis
August 18, 2018

On Wednesday, 48 people were killed in the bombing of an education centre.

Kabul police spokesman Hashmat Stanekzai said the attackers had fired rocket-propelled grenades as well as automatic rifles, and that security forces had held back from assaulting the building where the gunmen had taken position.

On Thursday, a training centre for the intelligence services was attacked.

A live feed on local broadcaster Tolonews showed the area cordoned off with gunfire echoing through the empty streets.

No group has claimed responsibility, but the bombing resembles previous attacks that have been claimed by ISIS.

Afghan helicopters also patrolled overhead as the president visited, police official Bilal Ahmad said. The suspected suicide bomber blew himself up in front of an educational centre in Dash-e-Barachi in Kabul while classes were being conducted, as reported by TOLO News.

In its report, which was released late on Thursday, OCHA said water and electricity have yet to be restored in many areas of the city of 270,000 people.

An industrial-sized digger helped soften the arid ground for the fresh graves as men removed rocks from the soil with pickaxes.

The Ghazni attack, one of the Taliban's most devastating in years, has clouded hopes for peace talks that had been prompted by an unprecedented ceasefire during the Eid celebration in June and a meeting last month between Taliban officials and a senior USA diplomat.

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"Death to your ceasefire and death to your ghost peace talks", cried one of the funeral attendees.

The school bombing underscored the price that ordinary Afghans have paid in the grinding conflict as the country reels from a recent uptick in violence, including a massive, days-long Taliban onslaught on the eastern city of Ghazni.

However the devastating attacks across the country in recent days have led many to question how such negotiations could move ahead.

President Ashraf Ghani congratulated Afghanistan's armed forces in Ghazni on Friday for their victory over Taliban insurgents in the strategically important city after clashes that killed at least 150 soldiers and 95 civilians. The assault on Ghazni was widely seen as a show of force ahead of possible peace talks with the US, which has been at war in Afghanistan for almost 17 years.

Both the resurgent Taliban and an Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan have targeted Shiites in the past, considering them to be heretics.

According to al Jazeera, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack.

Fareba was traumatized that so many of her friends were killed, but Hossain said she was lucky to be alive.

Small pockets of Ghazni began opening up to humanitarian aid on Thursday, while partial mobile service returned after telecommunications infrastructure and government buildings were destroyed during the onslaught.

The aftermath of the suicide bomb attack in Kabul.

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