China offers hand to grieving Afghans

By An Baijie | China Daily | Updated: 2017-06-02 07:19

Xi condemns terror attack in message of condolence

China strongly condemned the terrorist attack in Afghanistan's capital Kabul, President Xi Jinping said in a condolence message sent to his Afghan counterpart Mohammad Ashraf Ghani on Thursday.

On behalf of Chinese government and people, as well as in the name of himself, Xi mourned deeply for the victims of the attack, and expressed sincere condolence to the injured and the victims' families.

Noting that the truck bomb attack had caused huge casualties, Xi said China opposes all forms of terrorism.

China would like to join hands with international community to support the Afghan government and people firmly to prevent and fight against terrorism and maintain national stability, Xi said.

Premier Li Keqiang also sent a message of condolence to Afghan Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah on Thursday, in which he strongly condemned the terrorist attack.

China opposes all forms of terrorism, Li said, adding that China will provide persistent and firm support to Afghan government's continuous efforts to safeguard national security and stability and fight against terrorism.

Afghans mourned the loss of family members, friends and colleagues on Thursday, a day after the massive truck bomb exploded in the capital leaving at least 90 people dead and more than 450 others wounded in one of the worst extremist attacks since the drawdown of foreign forces from Afghanistan in 2014.

The city's acting mayor said the explosion damaged property as far as 4 kilometers away from the blast site and scores of people waited in hospitals to learn the status of family and friends wounded in the attack.

The bomber drove into Kabul's heavily guarded diplomatic quarter during the morning rush, leaving behind chaos and destruction. Most of the casualties were civilians, including women and children, but the dead also included Afghan security guards.

There was no claim of responsibility. Afghanistan's intelligence agency has blamed the Taliban-allied Haqqani network for the attack, but the Taliban have denied they were involved.

White House is considering sending thousands more soldiers to break the deadlock in the battle against the Taliban.

The device was hidden in a truck used to clean septic tanks, according to Najib Danish, deputy spokesman for the interior minister. The trucks are common in Kabul, a city of nearly 4 million people with no sewage system that mostly depends on septic tanks, and where open sewers are common.

The blast gouged a crater about 5 meters deep in the Wazir Akbar Khan district, where foreign embassies are protected by their own security personnel as well as Afghan police and National Security Forces. The nearby German Embassy was heavily damaged.

Also in the area is Afghanistan's Foreign Ministry, the Presidential Palace and its intelligence and security headquarters, guarded by soldiers trained by the US and its coalition partners.

The lights of the Eiffel Tower were switched off on Wednesday night to honor the scores of victims. The landmark had gone dark on Tuesday after suicide blasts in Baghdad killed 42.

AP contributed to this story.

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