Afghan authorities say a powerful bomb went off near Kabul’s international airport Sunday, killing at least 16 people and wounding 60 others, just minutes after first vice president, Abdul Rashid Dostum, returned home from exile.
A city police spokesman, Hashamtullah Satnikzai, confirmed to VOA a suicide bomber carried out the attack.
Dostum was not hurt.
Islamic State through its Amaq News Agency claimed responsibility for the bombing. It said the attack targeted the crowd welcoming Dostum, killing and injuring at least 115 security forces and supporters of the Afghan vice president.
Dostum, a former Uzbek warlord, returned to Afghanistan after more than a year of living in Turkey. He left the country in 2017 under controversial circumstances.
The Afghan government insisted Dostum needed better medical treatment abroad and he would rejoin duties after recovery. But the Uzbek leader was under investigation for torturing and sexually abusing a veteran political rival when he flew out of Kabul in the middle of night.
Dostum has long been surrounded by controversy and both local as well as international rights defenders accuse him of war crimes against members of the Taliban after a U.S.-led military invasion of Afghanistan ousted the Islamist group from power in Kabul.
It is not clear whether or not Dostum will still face the investigation.