Suicide bomber kills 12 in Kabul on eve of truce


Tue, Jun 12, 2018 - Page 6

At least 12 people were killed and 31 wounded yesterday when a suicide attacker blew himself up outside the Afghan Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development in Kabul, officials said, as employees were leaving their offices early for Ramadan.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the latest attack in the Afghan capital, but it comes a day before the government’s ceasefire with the Taliban was expected to start.

Employees were gathered at the entrance of the compound waiting for a bus to take them home when the suicide bomber blew himself up among the crowd, said ministry spokesman Faridoon Azhand, who was inside the building at the time.

“Unfortunately we have lost some colleagues,” Azhand said.

Employees were leaving their offices at 1pm due to the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Employees inside the ministry at the time of the attack confirmed hearing a blast.

“An explosion happened at the exit gate of the ministry,” said Daud Naimi, director of the communications department at the ministry.

“I was in my office when I heard a big blast,” another employee said. “Most of my colleagues were leaving for the day to go home. I am worried about my colleagues. We are told to stay inside for now.”

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Thursday announced that security forces would halt hostilities with the Taliban for a week.

It would last from the “27th of Ramadan until the fifth day of Eid-al-Fitr,” he said, indicating it could run from today though Monday next week.

The Taliban on Saturday said that their fighters would stop attacking Afghan security forces, but only for the first three days of Eid, the holiday capping Ramadan.

It is the first time the militants have agreed to suspend fighting since the 2001 US invasion.