Group behind deadly Kabul blast warns of more

2012-09-18 14:32
French soldiers arrive at the scene of a suicide bombing in Kabul, where eight South Africans were killed. (Ahmad Jamshid, AP)

French soldiers arrive at the scene of a suicide bombing in Kabul, where eight South Africans were killed. (Ahmad Jamshid, AP)

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Suicide bombing in Kabul

2012-09-18 10:30

This video shows the aftermath of a suicide attack on a minivan near Kabul international airport that reportedly killed 12 civilians including eight South Africans. WATCH

Kabul - The group behind a suicide bombing which left 12 people dead, including eight South Africans, warned of more attacks.

The attack happened early on Tuesday in the Afghan capital of Kabul. The bombing was carried out by a woman named Fatima who was acting under the group, Hizb-i-Islami.

The group said it was revenge for a film which ridicules Prophet Muhammad.

A car packed with explosives rammed into a mini-bus carrying foreign aviation workers to the airport in the Afghan capital.

The powerful early morning blast was the first to target Kabul since a video clip of the film was posted on the internet last week, sparking angry protests across the Muslim world including in Afghanistan.

It was also the second - and deadliest - attack in Afghanistan that militants have said they carried out as revenge strikes in response to the film.

‘Giving a woman a chance’

Haroon Zarghoon, a spokesperson for the Islamist militant group Hizb-i-Islami said the blast was carried out by a 22-year-old woman. Suicide bombings carried out by women are extremely rare in Afghanistan - and few, if any, women drive cars.

"The anti-Islam film hurt our religious sentiments and we cannot tolerate it," Zarghoon said.

"There had been several young men who wanted to take revenge but Fatima also volunteered and we wanted to give a chance to a girl for the attack to tell the world we cannot ignore any anti-Islam attack."

Zarghoon warned of more attacks against foreigners working for Nato and said the group had been seeking targets since a video clip of the film was posted last week.

The bombing was a worrisome escalation of violence in the capital, where most attacks are usually blamed on the Haqqani network - a Pakistan-based militant group affiliated with the Taliban and al-Qaida.

"Foreign troops are fighting against Afghans and foreign civilians are tasked to spy for them. They all are our enemy and will be our target," Zarghoon told The AP, speaking from an unknown location.

Angry Afghans

Eight of the dead were South Africans believed to be working for an aviation company based at Rand Airport in Johannesburg, SA's international affairs ministry spokesperson Nelson Kgwete said.

Afghan interior ministry spokesperson Sediq Sediqqi said that four Afghans also were killed and another 11 Afghan civilians were wounded. He said tests were under way to determine whether the suicide bomber was a woman.

Tuesday's blast came a day after hundreds of Afghans burned cars and threw rocks at a US military base in the capital in a demonstration against the anti-Islam film. One police vehicle was burned by the mob before they finally dispersed around midday on Monday.

Kabul police chief General Mohammad Ayub Salangi said Tuesday's explosion took place near an avenue northwest of the city centre near Kabul International Airport. The blast was so powerful it hurled the mini-bus at least 50m.

Group headed by former warlord

An eyewitness at the scene said he was waiting at a bus stop along the road when he saw a small white sedan ram into the mini-bus.

"The explosion was so powerful and loud that I could not hear anything for 10 minutes," said Abdullah Shah, a teacher. "It was early and there wasn't much traffic or there would have been many more casualties.

Hizb-i-Islami is headed by 65-year-old former warlord Gubuddin Hekmatyar - a former Afghan prime minister and one-time US ally who is now listed as a terrorist by Washington.

The group is a radical Islamist militia, with thousands of fighters and followers across the country's north and east.
- AP
Read more on:    afghanistan  |  prophet protests
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