Saturday 17 November 2018

Afghan vice-president unhurt in Kabul airport blast which killed 11

Rashid Dostum was returning to the country for the first time in more than a year.

Afghan security personnel carry an injured comrade after the attack (Rahmat Gul/AP)
Afghan security personnel carry an injured comrade after the attack (Rahmat Gul/AP)

By Rahim Faiez, Associated Press

Afghanistan’s first vice-president has escaped unharmed from an explosion near the airport as he returned home after living in Turkey for more than a year.

The interior ministry said a suicide bomber carried out the attack near Kabul International Airport shortly after the convoy of controversial vice-president Gen Abdul Rashid Dostum had left the area.

Eleven people, including civilians and military personnel, were killed in the attack and almost 50 were injured.

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Abdul Rashid Dostum arrived at Kabul International Airport just before the attack (Rahmat Gul/AP)

Mr Dostum is understood to have been the target of the attack. It is not yet known who carried it out, but both the Taliban and the Islamic State group are active in the Afghan capital.

Mr Dostum, a former Uzbek warlord, had been undergoing medical treatment in Turkey and is now well and ready to resume work, said presidential spokesman Haroon Chakhansuri.

He left Afghanistan in 2017 after the attorney-general’s office launched an investigation into allegations that his followers had tortured and sexually abused a former ally turned political rival. He has since reportedly been barred by the government from returning to Afghanistan.

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Afghan security personnel at the scene following the suicide blast (Rahmat Gul/AP)

It was not immediately clear whether Mr Dostum will now face any charges.

“The judiciary in Afghanistan is an independent body and will carry out its duties and responsibilities as it deems appropriate,” said an official.

Mr Dostum, accused of war crimes committed after the fall of the Taliban government in 2001, has also been criticised by the United States for human rights abuses.

Press Association

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