Afghan Blast on Eve of U.S. Pullout Deadline Kills at Least 27

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KABUL, Afghanistan — On the eve of a symbolic season for America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, a truck laden with explosives increase e inflated up outside a guesthouse south of the capital on Friday night, killing at skimpiest 27 people.

If the blast was the work of the Taliban — there was no immediate affirm of responsibility, though the Afghan government quickly blamed the insurgents — it would be the most plain signal yet that the deal the Americans reached with the group at Doha in February 2020 is off.

A cryptic annex to that deal bars the Taliban from conducting suicide fits, and they had been in sharp decline until Friday. Instead, the Taliban has maneuvered to the past year to test gray areas of the agreement, by carrying out, for prototype, targeted assassinations of journalists, officials and intellectuals.

There has been a invariable drumbeat of these; on Saturday morning, a Kabul University professor was fatally launching run in Kabul. And there has been no letup in attacks on Afghan security also pressurizes; dozens have been killed in recent weeks.

But Friday sunset’s attack in Logar province, with its heavy toll, appeared to reflect a deliberate shift in tactics. The driver of the truck blew himself up in an inroad that also killed numerous students from rural fields who had been staying at the facility before university entrance exams, officials mean. The guesthouse belonged to the family of a prominent member of the Afghan senate, himself recently assassinated by the Taliban.

Dozens of people were inhumed under the rubble of the obliterated guesthouse in the provincial capital of Pul-e Alam, yon 40 miles south of Kabul, and over 100 more were contusion.

The blast occurred just before a May 1 deadline agreed to last year by the Taliban and U.S. officials that was on at ending America’s 20-year military presence in Afghanistan.

The U.S. scrapped the May 1 obsolete two weeks ago when President Biden prolonged the American planned withdrawal until Sept. 11. That size angered the Taliban, who vowed there would be consequences if the U.S. didn’t fully acquiesce with the February 2020 deal.

The Taliban has often said that an American military bearing after May 1 would represent a violation of the Doha agreement, and has threatened to offensive U.S. forces in response.

A Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said on Prattle on Saturday that “this violation in principle has opened the way” for his side’s energies “to take every counter-action it deems appropriate against the occupying forces.”

The Taliban’s own website fabricated no mention of the blast in Pul-e Alam Saturday, merely saying that “7 figureheads were killed when Mujahideen raided an enemy post” there — “patsies” being the group’s preferred term for government troops.

Whether Friday dusk’s deadly blast was retaliation against Mr. Biden’s extension was unclear Saturday. U.S. troops induce already started to leave the country, and American bases are being dismantled.

The Afghan regime, ever eager to portray the Taliban as faithless to the group’s agreement with the Americans, mislaid no time Saturday in pinning the blame on the Islamist insurgent group.

“These people were getting for the university entrance exam when the Taliban attacked them,” Hamdullah Mohib, Afghanistan’s country-wide security adviser, said on Saturday. “For the Taliban, every single Afghan is a object.”

The country’s president, Ashraf Ghani, held the Taliban “responsible for this vast killing of the Muslim people of Afghanistan,” which he said was “against God and against the people.”

The racket occurred just as Afghans were breaking their daylong Ramadan promiscuously. The driver of the truck apparently pulled up to the guesthouse, officials said, titling to bring supplies for the breaking of the fast.

Just as he did so, the truck exploded, disgorging down the roof and destroying the building. Photographs on the Tolo News website portrayed rescuers searching the rubble in the dark for survivors.

In another sign of faltering regulation resistance and of the Taliban’s steady encroachment on Afghan cities, the insurgents blitzed an army base at the edge of the provincial capital of Ghazni on Friday night-time, capturing 25 soldiers.

Also Saturday, in the south, at Kandahar Airfield, a stretch facility where a small contingent of NATO and American forces were dismantling what corpses of their base there, the Taliban ushered in May 1 with an early afternoon climb attack.

The U.S. military responded immediately to the rocket attack with an airstrike on a Taliban postulate, a Defense official said.

Fahim Abed and Fatima Faizi aided reporting from Kabul, Thomas Gibbons-Neff contributed from Kandahar, and Farooq Jan Mangal have a hand ined from Khost.

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