Suicide blast at military academy in Afghanistan

At least five are dead and 25 wounded after the attack at Kabul’s Marshal Fahim National Defence University

A suicide attack on a military academy killed at least five people in the Afghan capital Kabul yesterday –the first major assault in the city in months.

About 7am local time, the bomber detonated his explosive vest close to the main entrance gate of the Marshal Fahim National Defence Academy.

The attack killed employees and cadets entering the military school – four members of the military and a civilian, the country's Ministry of Defence confirmed to The National.

The blast wounded 25 people, 12 army personnel and 13 civilians.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani called the attack a crime against humanity.

“The great nation of Afghanistan demands an immediate end to the violence, stopping the war, an overarching ceasefire, a dignified and sustainable peace, which are the priorities of the Afghan government as well,” he said.

Chief Executive of the Unity Government, Dr Abdullah Abdullah, said: “I strongly condemn today’s terrorist attack in Kabul. Terrorists and terrorism have no place among our people. We are united in our resolve to defeat these evil forces. Our thoughts and prayers are with victims and their families at this critical time.”

So far, no group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Bombings in Kabul are common despite talks between the US and the Taliban insurgent group to end America’s longest war.

The Taliban controls almost half the country nearly 20 years after they were forced from power by the US-led invasion. But numerous other extremist and militant groups in the country carry out attacks, including ISIS.

On January 31, two militants were killed when the explosives they were transporting in a hand cart accidentally detonated.

The civilian casualty rate in Afghanistan is high, in part due to suicide bombings and attacks involving a combination of bombing and mass shootouts. Last year, 327 of the 1,366 civilian deaths in Afghanistan from January to June were children.

But the Taliban is not alone in killing civilians. Pro-government forces – including the Afghan army and the US military – in the first half of 2019 accounted for more deaths than the Taliban, ISIS and other militant groups, killing 717 civilians – a 31 per cent increase on the previous year.

Most of these civilian casualties were the result of air strikes.

Opposition and insurgent groups killed 306 people.