U.S. President Donald Trump called for “decisive action” against the Taliban on Saturday after a bomb attack killed at least 95 people in one of the biggest blasts to rock war-torn Kabul in years.
“I condemn the despicable car bombing attack in Kabul today that has left scores of innocent civilians dead and hundreds injured. This murderous attack renews our resolve and that of our Afghan partners,” Trump said in a statement. “Now, all countries should take decisive action against the Taliban and the terrorist infrastructure that supports them.”
Afghanistan has been plunged into war since the October 2001 U.S. invasion—the opening shots in Washington’s “war on terrorism.”
“The Taliban’s cruelty will not prevail,” Trump added. “The United States is committed to a secure Afghanistan that is free from terrorists who would target Americans, our allies and anyone who does not share their wicked ideology.”
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson condemned the “senseless” attack, insisting there can be “no tolerance for those who support or offer sanctuary to terrorist groups.”
An explosives-packed ambulance was used for the bombing in a crowded part of the Afghan capital. Terrified survivors fled the area which was scattered with body parts, blood and debris, and hospitals were overwhelmed by the large number of wounded, who numbered at least 158. “The Taliban’s use of an ambulance as a weapon to target civilians represents inhumane disregard for the people of Afghanistan and all those working to bring peace to the country,” Tillerson said, adding that the attack breached “the most basic international norms.”
“All countries who support peace in Afghanistan have an obligation to take decisive action to stop the Taliban’s campaign of violence.”
Although Tillerson did not name any specific countries, Washington has repeatedly accused Pakistan of neglect in cracking down on militant groups such as the Taliban or their Haqqani allies. Trump lashed out at Pakistan in early January, denouncing Islamabad’s “lies” and “deceit” in the fight against terrorism—with the U.S. suspending hundreds of millions of dollars in security assistance.