Attacks kill 19 Afghan forces after twin bombings in Kabul

An injured man is brought in to a hospital following a deadly attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018. Twin bombings at a wrestling training center in a Shiite neighborhood of Afghanistan's capital on Wednesday killed at least 20 people, Afghan officials said. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

Afghan officials say insurgents have killed 19 people in separate assaults, including an insider attack in which a policeman shot dead eight colleagues

KABUL, Afghanistan — Insurgents killed 19 security personnel in separate assaults in Afghanistan, officials said Thursday, a day after twin bombings in Kabul killed 21 people, including two local TV reporters.

Another 89 people were wounded in Wednesday's bombings, in a Shiite neighborhood of the capital. The attack bore the hallmarks of the Islamic State group, which has carried out a wave of bombings against minority Shiites in recent years. The Taliban denied responsibility.

Later Wednesday, suspected Taliban insurgents overran a security outpost in the northern Badghis province and then ambushed reinforcements, killing a total of 10 soldiers, according to Jamshid Shahabi, a spokesman for the governor.

In what is being described as an insider attack, a local police official in the northern Takhar province turned his weapon on his colleagues early Thursday, killing all eight. Abdul Khali Aseir, the provincial police spokesman, says the gunman escaped.

Two journalists from Afghanistan's TOLO TV were among those killed in the Kabul bombings. Samim Faramarz and Ramiz Ahmadi were "fearless" reporters who represented what is best in the country, the station said in a posting on Twitter.

"They challenged and pushed boundaries to deliver news to millions daily. . .We are devastated," it said.

The U.N. envoy to Afghanistan, Tadamichi Yamamoto, condemned the "callous attack" in Kabul and expressed "deep concern over the heavy price paid by Afghan media, with the killing of journalists in Afghanistan being among the highest in the world."

In April, nine journalists who rushed to the scene of an explosion in Kabul were killed by a second suicide bomber. A 10th journalist was killed the same day, shot in eastern Khost province.

Both the Taliban and IS carry out near-daily attacks in Afghanistan targeting security forces and government officials, but IS also regularly targets Shiites, who it views as apostates.

In the same neighborhood where the twin bombings took place, an Islamic State suicide bomber killed 35 high school graduates last month as they sat for their university entrance exams. The dead were all teenagers.

Mohammad Jawad Ghawari, a member of Afghanistan's council of Shiite clerics, said there have been 15 attacks against Shiites in Kabul and nine more elsewhere in the country in just the last two years. They have been targeted in mosques, cultural centers and educational institutions.

He called on international human rights organizations and the Afghan government to do more to protect Shiites in Afghanistan.

The council has warned all Shiites living in Kabul to be vigilant.


Associated Press writer Kathy Gannon in Islamabad, Pakistan contributed to this report.

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