Suicide bombing in Kabul kills 23, Afghanistan’s VP unharmed

Afghan first vice president, a former Uzbek warlord, Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum, center, and members of his entourage disembark on arrival at Kabul International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, July 22, 2018.(AP)

A suicide bomber carried out an attack near the Kabul airport Sunday, killing 23 people and narrowly missing Afghanistan’s vice president, who was returning home after living in Turkey for over a year, security officials said.

At least 107 others were wounded in Sunday's powerful explosion, which happened as scores of people were leaving the airport after welcoming home Afghan Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum from exile.

The blast occurred near Kabul International Airport shortly after the convoy of the controversial vice president had just left the airport, Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish said.

Afghan security personnel carry an injured officer after an attack near the Kabul Airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, July 22, 2018. (AP)

Afghan security personnel carry an injured officer after an attack near the Kabul Airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, July 22, 2018. (AP)

Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum, a former Uzbek warlord, and his entourage were unharmed, said Danish.

AFP driver Mohammad Akhtar, 31, was among those killed when the suicide bomber blew himself up.

The father of four had been on his way to work the night shift.

ISIS’s local affiliate claimed responsibility for the attack on its Amaaq News Agency website, claiming it had killed and wounded over 115 people.

In a statement from the presidential palace, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani strongly condemned the attack.

Dostum had been undergoing medical treatment in Turkey, and is now well and ready to resume work, said presidential spokesman Haroon Chakhansuri.

Afghan security personnel and traffic police lie on the ground after a suicide attack near the Kabul Airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, July 22, 2018. (AP)

Afghan security personnel and traffic police lie on the ground after a suicide attack near the Kabul Airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, July 22, 2018. (AP)

Dostum left Afghanistan in 2017 after the attorney-general’s office launched an investigation into allegations that his followers had tortured and sexually abused a former ally turned political rival. He has since reportedly been barred by the government from returning to Afghanistan.

It was not immediately clear whether Dostum will now face any charges.

“The judiciary in Afghanistan is an independent body and will carry out its duties and responsibilities as it deems appropriate,” said an official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment on the issue.

Dostum, accused of war crimes committed after the fall of the Taliban government in 2001, has also been criticized by the United States for human rights abuses.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:53 - GMT 06:53
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