Wed, Jul 23, 2014 - Page 6 News List

Suicide bombing kills four foreigners near Kabul airport

AFP, KABUL

A Taliban suicide attacker riding a motorbike killed at least four foreigners in a compound in Kabul yesterday, police said, in the latest blast to rock the capital during an impasse over presidential election results.

The attack hit close to the outer perimeter of Kabul’s airport, which was targeted last week when insurgents seized a building in the same area and fired toward the airport using automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades.

The Taliban opposes the election process, which is currently undergoing an audit of all 8 million votes due to a dispute between the two contenders over fraud allegations.

“Our initial reports show the explosion took place inside the foreigners’ compound — four foreigners were killed and six were wounded,” Kabul police chief Zahir Zahir told reporters. “The foreigners were exercising inside at the time. Our teams are on the ground investigating how an attacker on a motorcycle entered the compound.”

The nationalities and jobs of the victims was not known, and there was no immediate comment from NATO’s International Security Assistance Force.

“The attack happened inside a joint compound used by the counter-narcotics department [of the interior ministry] and foreign forces,” Kabul police spokesman Hashmat Stanakzai said. “Also at around 7am, another bomb exploded [in the same district] slightly wounding one civilian.”

Another government official said that the people killed worked for a private contractor.

The Taliban used a recognized Twitter account to claim responsibility for the attack, saying 15 “agents” had been killed inside a foreign intelligence base. The insurgents often exaggerate death tolls after attacks.

Afghanistan is on edge as the election dispute between poll rivals, former Afghan minister of finance Ashraf Ghani and former minister of foreign affairs Abdullah Abdullah threatens to trigger instability and revive ethnic tensions that ravaged the country during the 1992 to 1996 civil war.

The vote audit was part of a deal brokered by US Secretary of State John Kerry to end the political crisis as Ghani and Abdullah both claimed victory.

Twenty-three thousand ballot boxes are being transported by the Afghan army and NATO forces to the capital, where they are to be examined at 100 verification stations.

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