Gunmen attack intelligence service center in Afghan capital Kabul

Cheryl Sanders
August 17, 2018

But the cost that that military confrontation exacts in civilian lives and disruption undermines the credibility of the government, undermines people's confidence in the government, and that in many ways is the goal of the attacks.

Afghan officials said at least two militants were killed but did not mention any other deaths or injuries.

The attacker appeared to target the Mawoud education centre, which specialises in preparing students for university exams in the western part of the city, officials said.

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.

Security forces in Afghanistan, beset by desertions and killings, have suffered staggering losses since US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ended its combat mission in the country in 2014. He did not say if all the victims were students and whether any of their teachers were also among the casualties.

Amnesty warned it proved "beyond any doubt that Afghanistan and, in particular, its capital Kabul, are not safe", and said European countries must stop returning Afghan refugees to the war-torn country. UNICEF continues to call on all parties to the conflict to adhere to and respect humanitarian principles, and ensure the safety and protection of all children.

Outrage was also growing on social media, where Afghans condemned the attack and angrily denounced those behind it - as well as the government for failing to protect them.

Families of the dead held a mass funeral Thursday where mourners wept and clutched the wooden coffins. "They are killing our educated people and every day they are killing us".

Mohammad Arif Shahjahan, an MP from Ghazni, told CNN Monday Taliban fighters had taken control of key buildings, including the police headquarters and some government offices.

The surge in violence comes just weeks after Afghans marked an unprecedented country-wide ceasefire between the Taliban and government forces in June, offering temporary relief to civilians.

Afghan security forces have been engaged with Taliban militants in the provincial capital days after the offensive on the strategic city began.

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 US diplomat.

Hundreds of civilians, soldiers and policemen have been killed in attacks over recent days, including 34 from a suicide bomb attack on an educational centre in Kabul on Wednesday. After the Taliban essentially destroyed the province, the fighting had eased.

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