Wednesday, November 20

Three killed in suicide bomb attack on Kabul commemorations


KABUL: A suicide bomber on a motorbike blew himself up near a convoy of gunmen commemorating the death anniversary of a famed resistance leader in Kabul yesterday, killing at least two people, officials said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the latest deadly attack in the Afghan capital that comes days after a double bombing at a wrestling club killed at least 26 people.

Kabul police spokesman Hashmat Stanikzai said two people were killed and nine wounded in the explosion that happened near the centre of the Afghan capital.

Health ministry spokesman Waheed Majroh said one person had been killed and two wounded in the blast.

Afghan officials often give conflicting figures for the number of casualties in the immediate aftermath of an attack.

Afghan security forces said earlier they had shot dead a man who had been planning to blow himself up near supporters of Ahmad Shah Massoud.

The Tajik commander led resistance to the Soviet occupation in the 1980s and to the 1996-2001 Taliban regime.

The attack came as convoys of gun-wielding men terrorised Kabul as they commemorated the 17th anniversary of Massoud’s death.

Massoud was killed two days before the 9/11 attacks in New York and Washington that precipitated the US-led invasion of Afghanistan.

Dozens of cars and pickups carrying men armed with heavy weapons and waving flags drove around the city, blaring loud sirens. AFP journalists could hear frequent bursts of gunfire.

At least 13 people were wounded by falling bullets, Majroh told journalists.

Sunday’s blatant lawlessness and the apparent lack of response from security forces ignited a firestorm of angry posts on social media from Kabul residents fed up with the constant violence and the government’s inability to protect civilians.

“Why do people have to endure this every year on Sept 9th? Why is the #Afghan govt allowing this?” one Afghan social media user posted on Twitter.

“Where is rule of law?” tweeted another.

A double bombing at a wrestling club in a heavily Shiite neighbourhood on Wednesday killed at least 26 people, including two journalists, and wounded 91.

The Islamic State (IS) group claimed responsibility.

IS considers Shiite Muslims apostates and has ramped up attacks against the minority group in recent years.

The last major attack on Shiites in Kabul was on August 15 when a suicide bomber blew himself up in an education centre, killing dozens of students.

The group said it was behind that attack, which drew international condemnation and came amid a wave of deadly violence across the country. — AFP