President Ashraf Ghani on Tuesday revised the death toll from Wednesday’s deadly truck bombing, and put the total killed at over 150.
Speaking at the start of the Kabul Process peace meeting in the capital, Ghani said: “Six days ago, thirteen brave Afghan policemen gave their lives to stop a sewerage truck packed with military grade explosives from entering the diplomatic compound, a direct violation of Geneva accords.
“The massive blast tore through the heart of Kabul. But thanks to their unflinching sacrifice, nobody from the diplomatic community was killed.
“But over 150 entirely innocent Afghan sons and daughters were killed and more than three hundred were brought to hospital with burns, lacerations, and amputations,” he said.
After observing a minute’s silence for victims of recent attacks in Kabul and the UK, Ghani said: “We are gathered here in Kabul today to express solidarity against terror and to begin the difficult process of defining a pathway that can lead to peace.”
Addressing visiting delegates from at least 23 countries, Ghani said: “You are in a city whose people are grieving because hundreds of our children have been blown apart by terrorist violence. But while our people appreciate the world’s solidarity and support for our loss, what our people are demanding is justice.
“These terrorist attacks insult the very concept of justice. The rebels say they are fighting a religious war, but Islam is a religion of peace, and it is Muslims – Afghan Muslims - innocent Muslim men, women, and children, who they are killing, by the thousand. Narcotics, terror, extortion; our religion has nothing but contempt for these tools of modern day terrorism. They are terrorists, nothing more,” he said.
He went on to say the world community has not yet come to grips with the full dimensions of the threat of terrorism.
“The UN has documented the phenomenal growth in the scale of terrorism, in the sophistication of its operations, and in the brutality of its attacks. Unfortunately, the scale of the response to terrorism’s rise has been slow and inadequate. To this date, while cooperation is improving, countries still lack the frameworks, the legal instruments, and the adaptability to track down and destroy movements that rapidly change their scope, their scale, and even their theater of operations.”
Currently representatives from at least 23 countries, along with the UN, EU and NATO are in talks in Kabul over ways to establish peace in Afghanistan.