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A wounded man lies on the ground at the site of a blast in Kabul.  (Photo: Reuters)

Kabul Blast a Reminder That Civilians Bearing Brunt of War, Says Expert

Death toll from truck bomb reaches 90

Andrea Germanos

The deadly truck bombing that struck the diplomatic area Afghanistan's capital during rush hour on Wednesday is a grim reminder of the ongoing horrors of war felt by Afghan civilians, says one expert.

CNN noted that the "streets were packed with commuters, women shopping, and children going to school."  The death toll, as of this writing, had risen to 90 people. Another 400 were wounded.

The New York Times writes that "the attack appeared to be one of the bloodiest of the long Afghan war."

"I have been to many attacks, taken wounded people out of many blast sites, but I can say I have ever seen such a horrible attack as I saw this morning," Alef Ahmadzai, an ambulance driver, said to the Associated Press.

The Times adds that the bombing "highlighted the continued ability of militants to strike even in the most secure parts of the capital."

According to Patricia Gossman, senior researcher on Afghanistan for Human Rights Watch, it "was yet another reminder of how deadly the war has become for ordinary Afghan civilians."

She further notes:

Civilian casualties have reached record levels as the Afghan conflict has intensified this past year, with two-thirds of civilian casualties caused by insurgent groups launching suicide attacks or using improvised explosive devices in densely populated areas. Attacks of this kind that deliberately or indiscriminately target civilians are war crimes, and could amount to crimes against humanity if found to be part of a widespread or systematic attack on the civilian population.

Today's contemptible act is a grim indication that Afghan civilians will continue to bear the brunt of Afghanistan's war.

Lotfullah Najafizada, news director for TOLOnews, Afghanistan’s 24-hour news channel, also underscored the ongoing dangers faced by Afghans—most of which never reach corporate news headlines. He told Democracy Now! that

a lot of people lose their lives here on a daily basis, and they're not even reported. This one was huge. It was in the capital. It made headlines, but it's about the number of the casualties, and it's about the importance the location, not about the Afghan lives lost in this attack, not about how it has affected the society. And I'm very—I'm very sad to say this, that Afghan story, or probably the Syrian or the Iraqi story—stories are just about numbers when attacks happen. And I hope it will change again for better one day, and you hear more about the human side of it. What happened today is definitely a tragic and a huge attack, but this is not the only attack which happens in this country. We lose tens of Afghans on a daily basis across Afghanistan. And some of them are not even in the news, even locally, because of the amount of incidents and attacks you see across Afghanistan

The Taliban denied any involvement with the bombing, and no group has yet claimed responsibility for Wednesday's blast.

The White House, meanwhile, is weighing sending as many as 5,000 additional troops to Afghanistan.


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