9 journalists among 20+ killed in twin bombings in Afghan capital

"It is with great sadness that the BBC can confirm the death of BBC Afghan reporter Ahmad Shah following an attack earlier today", BBC World Service director Jamie Angus said in a statement.

Kabul police spokesman Hashmat Stanikzai said the second explosion came minutes after the first, and targeted reporters at the scene.

He rose to become the chief photographer in Kabul for Agence France-Presse, his income supporting a large family that included three blind brothers and two blind children.

Shah, 29, had worked with BBC for more than a year.

On April 22, a suicide blast killed 57 people - including at least five children - and wounded over 100 more at a voter registration center.

"This is the normal stuff by people who can not win at the ballot box, so they turn to bombs", Mattis told reporters in Washington late on April 30.

"I am furthermore outraged by the attack which appears to have deliberately targeted journalists", he said in a statement. A spokesman for Afghanistan's US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation force said it was checking the report.

The attacks, claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), are the latest deadly assaults on the Afghan capital and have spurred an outpouring of grief among journalists, many of whom took to Twitter to post tributes to their colleagues.

It was the worst attack on journalists since 2016, when seven Tolo TV employees were killed by a Taliban suicide attacker who rammed a auto bomb into a bus driving them home from the station.

Those reports came on the heels of an Afghan government announcement in February that it would be willing to recognize the Taliban as a legitimate political party as part of a potential ceasefire agreement with the Islamist militant group.

"I don't know who is responsible for all these attacks".

In other violence Monday, insurgents killed at least four Afghan policemen in an ambush in the northern Balkh province, said Sher Mohammad Abu-Tariq, the district chief in Nahri Shahi. Last week, six people, including two Afghan soldiers, were killed when a vehicle bomb exploded in Afghanistan's Helmand province. "Life seems to be even more hard than under the Taliban because of the insecurity".

The US is spending about $45 billion per year in Afghanistan, where it has been at war for almost 17 years, making it the longest in American history.

Taliban militants, fighting to restore their version of strict Islamic law to Afghanistan, announced their usual spring offensive last week and there has been heavy fighting in several areas of the country since.

Hundreds of people have been killed and wounded in a series of attacks in Kabul since the beginning of the year, despite President Ashraf Ghani's offer in February for peace talks "without preconditions". That attack killed 31 people and wounded 65 others.

  • Jacqueline Ellis