Asia Pacific

Casualties reported after suicide bombing in Kabul’s Hazara neighborhood

A suicide bombing in the Afghan capital on Friday killed at least seven people who were attending a memorial for a prominent Hazara leader.

The bomber detonated an explosive device at a checkpoint outside the gathering in Kabul, close to Mosalla-e-Mazar area in District 6, Tolo reported.

People inside, including senior government officials, were marking the 23rd anniversary of the death of Abdul Ali Mazari, a former leader of Afghanistan’s mainly Shiite Hazara community who was killed by the Taliban.

“In the explosion seven were martyred and seven were wounded,” interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish wrote on Facebook.

Kabul police chief Mohammad Daud Amin said police identified the attacker and he failed to get inside the gathering, Tolo reported.

A police officer is among those killed.

Read more: The ‘weak link’: Afghan Police bear the brunt of insecurity in Afghanistan

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack. The group has targeted Afghanistan’s mainly Shiite Hazara community in the past. A July 2016 double suicide bombing killed 80 members of the group who were demonstrating in the city. ISIS claimed responsibility for that bombing, its first in the capital and the deadliest attack in Kabul since 2001.

Attacks in Kabul

The bombing comes a week after a car bomb near an Australian embassy convoy killed one person and wounded three others.

Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani has sought to find a political solution to the insurgent Taliban who have retaken territory in the country over the last months as the group and the local ISIS branch Wilayat Khorasan have carried out attacks in the capital and other urban areas.

On February 28, Ghani unveiled plans for a possible peace settlement with the Taliban that would include the militant group recognizing the Afghan government and constitution as legitimate in exchange for possibly opening an office for the group in Kabul and working to remove sanctions against Taliban leaders.

The Taliban have called for direct talks with the United States to find a “peaceful” solution to the conflict.

With reporting from AFP

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