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20 killed, 32 injured in Kabul suicide attack

Karzai, Abdullah, NATO condemn suicide attack

By Farhad Naibkhel-KABUL: At least 20 people were killed and 32 others injured when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives-packed vest at the entrance of the Afghanistan National Civil Order Police Headquarters (HQ) in western Kabul on Monday afternoon.

In a media statement issued here, the NATO’s Resolute Support said that the suicide attack has left 20 Afghan policemen dead and 32 injured, including seven civilians.

Confirming the casualties, Spokesman for the Resolute Support, Col. Michael Lawhorn, told Afghanistan Times that the information about casualty figures was received from the Afghanistan National Military Command Center.

Condemning the attack, the Resolute Support deputy chief of staff for communications, Brig. Gen. Wilson Shoffner, said: “Once again, terrorists have targeted a populated area with no regard for innocent lives. This attack on the Afghan police shows the contempt the Taliban have for the rule of law in Afghanistan and for those who commit themselves daily to defending the Afghan people. The Taliban have no plan for the development of Afghanistan. Targeting those who defend their fellow Afghans does not advance the cause of peace.”

However, the deputy interior minister, Gen. Muhammad Ayub Salangi, said that most of the killed and injured people in today’s attack were civilians. He said that 11 people including the suicide bomber were killed and 20 others injured in the blast.

“A suicide bomber at 2:00 pm tried to enter into the headquarters of the Afghan Civil Order Police in Dehmazang area of the western part of Kabul City. When stopped by the police for security check, the suicide bomber detonated his explosives-packed vest,” said Crime Branch Chief of Kabul Police, Fraidon Obaidi.

He told Afghanistan Times that nine people including two policemen were killed and 12 others, mostly civilians, were wounded in the blast. The injured people were shifted to the nearby hospitals by police, he added.

Spokesman for Afghan Civil Order Police, Javid, told Afghanistan Times that the attacker was on foot and tried to enter into the HQ, but was prevented by the security forces.

The attacker detonated his explosives-packed vest when the police tried to stop him. At the time of the blast, scores of visitors were waiting for their turn to enter into the headquarters after security check, the spokesman said.

Spokesman for Ministry of Public Health, Mohammad Ismail Kawosi, said that 16 wounded people were shifted to hospitals after the suicide attack.

Mohammad Nabi, a witness, said that he was passing through the area while riding a bicycle when heard a huge blast.

He said that fire and smoke was rising and several people were lying on the ground following the blast.

Nabi said that security forces cordoned off the area soon after the explosion. The site of the attack is also near to the Afghan Border Police HQ and Kabul Zoo.

Taliban in a statement claimed responsibility for the suicide attack. The militant group said that around 40 policemen were killed and injured in the suicide blast.

Afghan Chief Executive, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, who is now on official visit to India, in a statement “strongly” condemned the attack on civilians.

According to his press office in Kabul, Abdullah called on “armed terrorist groups” to join peace talks instead of suicide bombings against civilians which has no justification in any religion. The chief executive also directed security agencies to identify and arrest those behind the attack.

“For holding peace talks there is need to bring down the level of violence in the country,” Abdullah said, adding that such attacks could “harm” the future peace talks between Taliban and the Afghan government.

Ex-President Hamid Karzai also condemned the devastating blast in Kabul. Hamid Karzai termed the attacks against the human rights and Islamic values and conveyed his condolences to the families of the bereaved and prayed for the speedy recovery of the injured.

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