Blast hits Afghan Interior Ministry compound

2014-04-02 14:08
Afghan police men block the street after a suicide bomber wearing a military uniform struck the entrance gate of the Interior Ministry compound in Kabul, Afghanistan. (File, AP)

Afghan police men block the street after a suicide bomber wearing a military uniform struck the entrance gate of the Interior Ministry compound in Kabul, Afghanistan. (File, AP)

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Kabul - A suicide bomber wearing a military uniform struck the entrance gate of the Interior Ministry compound on Wednesday in the heart of the Afghan capital, officials say, the latest in a wave of violence to rock Kabul as the Taliban threaten to disrupt this weekend's elections.

The Interior Ministry, which oversees Afghan police, said the blast wounded a number of police officers. It did not elaborate.

Witness Mohammad Karim, who was walking toward the gate to leave the compound, said he was blown back by the force of the blast. Police then rushed him and others into a safe room.

The ministry said the attacker wore a military uniform. Baryalai, a police officer who only gave one name as is common among Afghans, said the blast occurred near a bank that is close to the entrance gate.

The explosion came hours after Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid repeated a warning to Afghans to stay away from Saturday's vote, saying election workers and polling centres would be targeted.

The Interior Ministry primarily has responsibility for securing the elections. Several recent high-profile attacks also have threatened to undermine the results by scaring voters away.

Earlier on Wednesday, an Afghan official said Taliban gunmen killed nine people, including a candidate running for a seat in the provincial council, who had been abducted in northern Afghanistan.

The governor of Sar-i-Pul province, Abdul Jabar Haqbeen, said authorities received word that the candidate, Hussain Nazari, and the others were killed overnight by their abductors. They were seized by the Taliban three days ago while travelling to the provincial capital.

No group has claimed responsibility.

Haqbeen says they recovered four bodies and one man who was wounded, while the five other bodies, including the candidate's, are in a remote area and have yet to be found.

Haqbeen says authorities were told that Nazari and two others were beheaded.
- AP
Read more on:    taliban  |  afghanistan
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