UPDATE: 7 dead as suicide bomber hits Afghan TV channel bus

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UPDATE: 7 dead as suicide bomber hits Afghan TV channel bus
Firefighters inspect the wreckage of a bus hit by a suicide bomb attack in Kabul.

Kabul - The bombing near Russian embassy left some staff members burning inside the vehicle and injured 24 others.

By AFP

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Published: Wed 20 Jan 2016, 4:32 PM

Last updated: Thu 21 Jan 2016, 1:55 AM

Seven people were killed on Wednesday when a suicide bomber struck a minibus carrying employees of popular Afghan TV channel TOLO, just months after the Taleban declared the network a legitimate “military target”.
At least 24 others were wounded in the bombing near the Russian embassy in downtown Kabul, which marks the first major attack on an Afghan media organisation.
No group has so far claimed responsibility for the carnage, the latest in a wave of attacks despite an international push to jumpstart Taleban peace talks.
“Our office bus taking TOLO staff home came under attack,” an employee at the channel said, requesting anonymity.
The bombing left some staff members burning inside the vehicle, another employee said, adding that the bus was mostly filled with behind-the-scenes workers from the channel’s graphics and dubbing departments.
The loud explosion sent a plume of smoke rising in the sky, with ambulances and firefighters rushing to the scene which was littered with charred debris.
The attack left seven people dead and 24 others wounded, police officials and the interior ministry said.
“The enemy of peace and Afghan people have martyred my colleagues,” Fawad Aman, a well-known TOLO TV anchor, wrote on his Facebook page.
“Such cowardly attacks will not deter us from exposing the truth.”
The Taleban in October declared TOLO and 1TV, both privately run news stations as legitimate “military targets”.
The group said the move was in response to their reports claiming that Taleban fighters raped women at a female hostel in Kunduz, after the group briefly captured the northern city in late September last year.
The Taleban rejected the reports as fabrications, saying they were examples of propaganda by the “satanic networks”.
The attack, which highlights the growing dangers faced by journalists in Afghanistan, comes just two days after a second round of a four-country meeting in Kabul aimed at reviving talks with the Taliban.
Delegates from Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the United States convened in the Afghan capital Monday for a one-day meeting seeking a negotiated end to the 14-year Taleban insurgency.
Observers say the intensifying insurgency highlights a push by the militants to seize more territory in an attempt to wrangle greater concessions during talks.

Afghan security personnel inspect the damaged vehicle carrying employees of popular Afghan TV channel TOLO in Kabul, following an attack by a suicide bomber.
Afghan security personnel inspect the damaged vehicle carrying employees of popular Afghan TV channel TOLO in Kabul, following an attack by a suicide bomber.

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