Afghan confidence in government undermined by fresh attacks

Afghan volunteers carry a body on a stretcher to a hospital Wednesday after a suicide attack in Kabul

Afghan volunteers carry a body on a stretcher to a hospital Wednesday after a suicide attack in Kabul

"Every day we are witnessing deadly attacks in Kabul and other major cities".

Afghan defence minister Tariq Shah Bahrami had earlier this week said that Ghazni attack had been carried out by Taliban with the support of external elements, including Pakistanis.

The attack was just one of the most shocking in a blood-soaked week across Afghanistan that has left security forces and civilians reeling.

The latest incident comes at a time of high tension following a series of attacks including a full-scale assault on the city of Ghazni last week.

On Wednesday, 48 people were killed in the bombing of an education centre. Numerous casualties were students between ages of 16 and 18.

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On Wednesday, a police source in Baghlan said that at least 35 Afghan National Army (ANA) officers and ten policemen were killed when the Taliban launched an attack on a military base in Baghlan-e-Markazi district on Tuesday night.

Amnesty warned it proved "beyond any doubt that Afghanistan and, in particular, its capital Kabul, are not safe", and said European countries must stop returning Afghan refugees to the war-torn country.

Families of the dead held a mass funeral Thursday where mourners wept and clutched the wooden coffins.

The explosion, which came as the central city of Ghazni struggles to recover from five days of intense fighting between the Taliban and government forces, underlined how badly security in Afghanistan has degenerated, some two months before parliamentary elections scheduled for October. The assault on Ghazni was widely seen as a show of force ahead of possible peace talks with the USA, which has been at war in Afghanistan for almost 17 years.

Afghan forces appear to have finally pushed Taliban fighters from the strategic provincial capital.

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After some seven hours, officials said the two attackers were killed.

"It's the fighting season and the Taliban will want to rack up victories before winter".

The aftermath of the suicide bomb attack in Kabul.

"My house was just near the front line, the Taliban would force people to bring them food and tea", Hassan Safari, one of hundreds of residents who were forced to hide in their basements, told the AFP.

Afghan forces appeared to have finally pushed Taliban fighters from the strategic provincial capital, as the United Nations warned that reports suggested up to 150 civilians might have been killed in the fighting.

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Small pockets of the city began opening up to humanitarian aid Thursday, while partial mobile service returned after telecommunications infrastructure and government buildings were destroyed during the fighting.

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