By RAHIM FAIEZ
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Separate bomb and gun attacks on Sunday left at least three dead in Afghanistan’s capital, local police said, a day after a barrage of mortar shells shook the city.
A sticky bomb attached to an armored vehicle in northern Kabul killed two, and wounded at least two others, according to Ferdaws Faramarz, a spokesman for the Kabul police chief. No further details were immediately available.
Faramarz also said that an Afghan government prosecutor was shot dead in eastern Kabul. The prosecutor was on his way to his office when he was attacked in Kart-e Now neighborhood, the police spokesman said.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks in Kabul. The Islamic Sate group has claimed responsibility for multiple attacks on the capital in recent months, including horrific attacks on educational institutions that killed as many as 50 people, most of them students.
The Sunday attacks happened as a day earlier the IS militants hit the capital with a barrage of mortar shells, killing at least one civilian and wounding a second, amid a countrywide spike in violence.
The extremist group claimed responsibility on its affiliated Amaq News site, saying it fired 10 Katyusha rockets toward the capital’s Hamid Karzai International Airport.
Three shells hit the airport, while the other rounds landed in residential areas of the city, according to the Afghan Interior Ministry.
Violence in Afghanistan has spiked in recent months even as the Taliban and Afghan government negotiators meet in the Gulf Arab state of Qatar to hammer out a peace deal that could put an end to decades of war.
The Taliban have waged bitter battles against IS fighters, particularly in IS strongholds in eastern Afghanistan, while continuing their insurgency against Afghan government forces.
In southern Kandahar province on Sunday, the Taliban claimed that government forces in an airstrike killed at least 13 civilians in the Arghandab district. A spokesman for the provincial governor, Bahir Ahmadi, denied government forces were behind the explosion, but claimed that seven civilians were killed when Taliban fighters accidentally let a bomb go off in the area Saturday night.
The area of the explosion in Kandahar is remote and difficult to reach, and Taliban and government accounts of the civilian deaths couldn’t be immediately confirmed.
A U.S.-based institute warned last week that there has been a dramatic increase in airstrikes conducted by Afghan government forces from July to September this year, attacks that have led to a sharp rise in civilian casualties.
The Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs, a research center at Brown University, said in its report that 70 Afghan civilians have been killed in the third quarter of this year, compared to 86 killed in the first six months of 2020.
In its report, the institute also said that from 2017 through 2019, civilian deaths due to U.S. and allied forces’ airstrikes in Afghanistan dramatically increased. In 2019, airstrikes killed 700 civilians – more civilians than in any other year since the beginning of the war in 2001 and 2002.