Taliban attack on US-based aid group raises concern in Kabul

May 9, 2019
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Afghan municipality workers clean debris in front of the damaged buildings a day after an attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, May 9, 2019. Taliban fighters attacked the offices of a U.S.-based aid organization in the Afghan capital on Wednesday, setting off a huge explosion and battling security forces in an assault, the Interior Ministry said. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A deadly Taliban attack on U.S.-based aid group in the Afghan capital has raised concerns among other relief organizations that they could be targeted.

Authorities say Wednesday’s assault on Counterpart International in Kabul killed at least nine people as insurgents set off a huge explosion and battled security forces for over six hours. Those killed included three Afghan employees of the organization and two of its security guards.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said on Thursday they had targeted the organization because Counterpart International promotes “Western culture,” including encouraging the mixing of the genders — something that is taboo to the Taliban.

Mujahid claimed the organization was also training Afghan security forces, without elaborating.

The attack came as the Taliban hold peace talks with the U.S. in Qatar.

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