On September 9th, 2020, at least 10 people were killed in a roadside explosion in Kabul, Afghanistan targeted at the nation’s Vice President, Amrullah Saleh.
While the Vice President remained unharmed, the 10 people killed were all civilians. At least 15 additional people were wounded, including members of Saleh’s staff and a few of his bodyguards.
Among the ten civilians killed, at least three were children who, according to an eye-witness, had been buying bread at the bakery.
Two of the other victims have been identified as Fawad and Abdul Hakim Kawoon, young men who were on their way to work at a nearby restaurant when the attack occurred. According to a relative of the victims, each of these men left behind children between the ages of 4 and 7 years.
The attack is assumed to be related to recent intra-Afghan talks. Afghan leaders and members of the international community have condemned the attack.
Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) records casualties (i.e. people killed and injured) from explosive violence around the world as reported in English-language news sources.
In the Explosive Violence Monitor 2019, AOAV recorded that Afghanistan experienced 4,630 civilian deaths and injuries in 2019, which was the second highest number of any nation worldwide. This was an 8% increase in civilian casualties compared to the previous year. AOAV also reported that five out of ten of the worst explosive incidents in 2019 in terms of civilian harm occurred in Afghanistan.
Majority of the attacks in Afghanistan over the last year have been caused by non-state actors, primarily the Taliban and Islamic State.
AOAV condemns the use of explosive weapons in populated areas and calls on all states to urgently address the threat of explosive weapons attacks by non-state actors. There is an urgent need for preventative measures to be implemented by states and the international community to prevent such attacks that directly impact civilians.