Public Outcry Gathers Momentum Over Kabul Car Bombing

Kabul residents and MPs are demanding answers from government over Wednesday night’s second bombing in Dasht-e-Barchi, with some members of parliament saying it is time for President Ashraf Ghani to step down.

Questions have been raised after a suspicious car at the scene of the first explosion drew public attention, but security forces failed completely to detect that it was laden with explosives nor did they seal off the area.  

This vehicle detonated about an hour after the first explosion – killing many people.

Former military officials also raised their concerns and stated a thorough check was not carried out.  

Footage taken on a mobile phone shows plain-clothed security force members looking over the vehicle after placing a jammer on the windshield.

However, the area was not cordoned off to members of the public or press nor, when the footage was taken, were bomb-sniffing dogs from the K9 unit being used.

MPs lashed out at security officials and questioned why a proper check was not carried out on the vehicle in the hour following the first explosion.

MPs also said it was time for Ghani to go as he has failed to maintain any semblance of security in the country – especially in Kabul city.  

“They (security forces) should be asked why they did not search the car properly – which was parked there – and from which terrorists went to the gym and detonated their explosives inside (in the first explosion),” MP Sadiqi Zada Nili said. 

Sayed Hassan Sharifi Balkhabi said in turn that games were being played with people’s lives.

“Without considering any political issue, I want President Ghani to resign. He has failed to protect the country,” MP Arif Rahmani said. 

Meanwhile a number of eyewitnesses said security forces had looked through the car but that it exploded once most of them had left the area.

Daesh, who claimed responsibility for the attack, first sent in a suicide bomber into the Maiwand wrestling gym and then detonated the vehicle bomb an hour later.

Dasht-e-Barchi residents were also highly critical of security forces for not having checked the vehicle properly and for not having taken the necessary steps to cordon off the area.

“The (Toyota) Corolla car was parked there for one and a half hours. People told security forces that the car was suspicious, but they just said they had checked the vehicle,” Sultan Ali, an eyewitness said. 

“When they opened the trunk of the car, they said there was nothing inside. I do not know whether they were unprofessional or whether they just do not care,” Mohammad Nasir, another eyewitness said. 

A number of former military officers also said the second explosion was extremely questionable and that the security officials who checked the vehicle need to be questioned and held accountable.  

“The facts should be found as to whether they were negligent in doing their jobs; and why they allowed the car to remain there. For me as a military officer it is questionable,” Gen. Nabi Qate, a former military officer said. 

The Ministry of Interior (MoI) meanwhile said security forces had checked the car but found nothing unusual before it was detonated.

“The whole car was searched, and nothing was found. But unfortunately, later it exploded,” MoI spokesman Najib Danish said. 

Government officials said 26 people were killed and almost 100 wounded in the double bombing but eyewitnesses and the head of the gym said that just in the first bombing alone, 30 wrestlers were killed and almost 50 others wounded.

TOLOnews’ reporter Samim Faramarz and cameraman Ramiz Ahmadi were among those killed in the second explosion. 

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