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Explosions heard at political gathering in Kabul

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    Posted: 07-Mar-2019 at 1:40am
24th death anniversary of Abdul Ali Mazari, leader of the Hezb-e-Wahdat party.

A government official says there is no word yet on casualties and investigations have been launched.

Explosions have been heard at a political gathering in Afghan capital, Kabul, according to media reports.

"We have reports of explosions in the western part of Kabul. Investigations have been launched," said Nasrat Rahimi, a spokesman at the interior ministry.

Another source at the interior ministry told local media that the source of the explosions came from someone firing mortar shells from a house in District 18.

An official with the city's ambulance services, Mohammad Asim, said five people were wounded in the explosions and were taken to local hospitals. He also said more ambulances are at the site, but there is not yet a confirmed number of casualties.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Earlier, a senior interior ministry official said the attackers could have targeted a large gathering of Shia Muslims attending a commemoration on the anniversary of a leader's death at Musala-e-Mazari compound.

Hundreds of people were attending the Kabul meeting to mark the 24th death anniversary of Abdul Ali Mazari, leader of the Hezb-e-Wahdat party.

Mazari was killed by the Taliban after he was taken prisoner by them in 1995.

Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, former president Hamid Karzai, former NSA Haneef Atmar, former Vice president Yunus Qanuni, Acting Foreign Minister, Salahuddin Rabbani, 2nd Deputy Chief Executive Mohammad Mohaqiq, & other officials were at the ceremony which came under attack.Explosions heard at political gathering in Kabul

Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani - who was at the scene - later tweeted "terrorists launched rocket attacks on commemoration ceremony", and said he had escaped safely.

Speaking to local news agency Tolo, an eyewitness said security forces were attempting to evacuate the attendees, and that the area had already been cordoned off.

"The people I saw who were evacuated were those inside their own homes, which had smoke and fire coming out of them," the unnamed eyewitness said. 

"People were trying to get to any means of transport available in order to evacuate the wounded quickly to the hospital," he added. "One of the injured was lying on a cart."

The incident comes as US and Taliban negotiations continue to hold peace talks in Qatar aimed at ending the nearly 18-year conflict. 

The last major attack in Kabul occurred in January when the Taliban-claimed responsibility for a car bomb that struck the heavily fortified Green Village foreign compound. 

Heavy snowfall across large swaths of Afghanistan has led to a reduction in violence this winter, but warmer weather in the country's south will likely spark an increase in bloodshed with the arrival of the spring fighting season.

Source: Al Jazeera

Edited by AfghanistanNews - 07-Mar-2019 at 1:41am
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