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7 killed as bomber strikes cleric gathering banning suicide attacks

AT-KABUL: At least seven people were killed and twenty others wounded on Monday when a suicide bomber struck near Loya Jirga tent where more than 2,000 religious scholars had congregated to declare suicide attacks forbidden and seek rapprochement with the Taliban.

The gathering issued an Islamic verdict against terrorism and urged Taliban to rethink the government’s rapprochement offer. A suicide attacker targeted religious scholars in front of the large heavily guarded pavilion, said Kabul Police Chief Dawod Amin.

The suicide bomber detonated his explosives-laden vest near the gathering, where two thousands ofreligious ulema gathered to denounce war and propagate peace, said Kabul Police Spokesman Hashmat Stanikzai.

Initial accounts suggest that the attacker was on foot before blowing himself off. Police suspected the would-be suicide bomber, who blew himself up before police could gun him down.

While suicide bombing struck a highly important religious assembly, a magnetic bomb exploded in the afternoon in Kot-e-Sangi locality, leaving three injured, said Stanikzai.

A cleric, Malawi Mohammad Asef Mesbah, who participated in the gathering and survived the suicide attack, said that today over 2,000 Ulema from different part of the country attended the Ulema session to announce stance regarding ongoing conflict and peace process in Afghanistan.

He said that Ulema by releasing a Fatwa calling suicide attack and explosions killing innocent people Haram (Unlawful), which has no base in Islam.

He said that the Ulema welcomed the Afghan government recent offer of peace without any pre-condition to Taliban.

The Ulema asked Taliban to come on negotiation table without any precondition in order to lead toward peace, he added.

The Ulema also called on all religion scholar and Islamic centers of Islamic countries to cooperate Afghan peace process, he mentioned.

He said that during session Ulema asked the Afghan all Ulema to cooperate with peace process even if needed play as mediators rule.

He said that Ulema called on government and Taliban to announce truce during the last ten days of Ramadan and start direct negotiating in order to find clue for peace.

While expressing regretful regarding attack near Ulema session, he said that we were taking out from the tent when explosion happened.

He said that I have seen 4-5 Uleman wounded in the incident.

Another participant of Ulema gathering Mawlawi Ahmad Gul Delawar, who wounded in the attack said that the session was aimed to support peace process.

He said that the session was ended and we taking out of Loyar Jirga tent when reached to the main road suicide attack happened and I was wounded. This was the first time which such big Ulema session took place in Kabul.Ulema believed that Afghans and Muslims are the firewood of ongoing conflict in both sides, so it should be stopped.Ulema also termed Islam the religion of peace, in which violence is prohibited.Ulema also strongly condemned interference of all those organs, groups and countries which cause continuation of war in Afghanistan.

Taliban rejected their fighters’ involvement in today attack, the group spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid in Telegram said that today’s blast in Kabul has nothing to do with the Mujahidin of Islamic Emirates.

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