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Suicide Blast Hits Afghan Political Gathering in Kabul

  • Ayaz Gul

Afghan firefighters clean up the site of a deadly suicide bombing, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Nov. 16, 2017.

At least 10 people have been killed and many more wounded by a suicide bomb attack near a political gathering in the Afghan capital, Kabul.

A city police spokesman, Baseer Mujahid, told VOA eight security officers, including a senior police commander, were among the dead in Thursday's attack.

The bomber wanted to enter an event hall where supporters of Balkh province Governor Attah Mohammad Noort had gathered to "honor" his national services. But Mujahid said tight security around the venue prompted the attacker to blow himself up at an outer security post.

Afghan media, quoting security sources, put the death toll at more than 18, including civilians.

The Islamic State terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attack.

Noor, a notorious warlord and powerful regional leader, is a longtime stalwart in the Jamiat-i-Islami party, which is part of the Afghan national unity government.

Noor recently formed a three party political alliance, including the Jumbish party of General Abdul Rashid Dostum, another controversial and notorious warlord in the north. Dostum represents the minority Uzbek community.

Both the warlords are highly critical of mostly ethnic Pashtun leaders around Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

Thursday's violence came amid heightened political tensions as politicians are jockeying for position ahead of the 2019 presidential elections in Afghanistan.

Kabul has witnessed major bombings this year, killing and wounding hundreds of people.

The Taliban and Islamic State have both taken credit for the bloodshed. Taliban insurgents have also intensified battlefield attacks against government forces across Afghanistan in 2017, killing and wounding thousands of them. Stepped up hostilities have also caused record civilian casualties this year.

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