16 killed as Hezb-e-Islami shows sign of re-grouping in Afghanistan

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    (NVOnews.com): At least 16 people, six Americans, nine Afghan civilians and an interpreter were killed and over three dozens injured, in a massive suicide attack in the capital city of Kabul on Thursday morning.

    Sources said the killed Americans worked with the intelligence department of the Ministry of Defence, which is about half a mile from the scene of the attack.

    Hezb-e-Islami, the most powerful Mujahideen group of 1980s, which forced the withdrawal of Soviet forces then, has clamied responsibility for the incident. Only last September it triggered a similar suicide blast killing many Americans. Curiously, a woman suicide bomber took part in that attack, a rarity in Afghanistan.

    In the latest attack a Toyota Corolla packed with explosives crashed into a pair of American military vehicles––one an armoured Chevrolet Suburban weighing nearly five tons, which was reduced to a mangled heap of charred metal, while the other was launched into the air and blown down the street.

    The huge explosion rattled windows across Kabul and caused a big crater and left bodies strewn along the street.

    According to Hezb-i-Islami spokesman Haroon Zarghon, who talked to media over phone in Pakistan the bombing was carried out by a 24-year-old man who grew up south of Kabul.

    The blast shattered relative calm as the number of attacks on the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) has come down following the gradual reduction in their numerical strength.

    By December 31, 2014 they are to leave the country and hand it over to the Afghan forces.

    The last September Hezb attack targeted a minibus carrying flight crew members for planes contracted to fly for the United States Agency for International Development.

    Zarghon further said that Hezb-i-Islami would carry more attacks against American and coalition targets.

    The revival of Hezb-e-Islami under Engineer Gulbuddin Hekmatyar has come as a big challenge not only to the western forces but also to the fledgling Hamid Karzai government.

    Burying its past, of late, Hezb appears to be working closely with Taliban, which took power in Sep 1996 after civil war involving Hezb and Jamiat-e-Islami took a heavy toll of lives and created political uncertainty, though they forces fought unitedly against the Soviet forces in early 1980s.

    Now Hezb is a relatively small insurgent groups, but the western analysts fear that it may soon get revived as it a history of fighting the Soviet forces. Besides, it is more acceptable to neighbours like Pakistan and Iran than Taliban, who are known for more extremist and orthodox views.

    The United States-led coalition forces conceded that two service members and four contractors were killed. It did not specify their nationalities, though Afghan officials confirmed they were all Americans.