Foreigner killed as UN vehicle hit in Kabul blast

Updated 25 Nov 2019

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Afghan security personnel inspect the site of an explosion in Kabul, Afghanistan on  Sunday. — AP
Afghan security personnel inspect the site of an explosion in Kabul, Afghanistan on Sunday. — AP

KABUL: A foreign national was killed and at least five other people wounded in a grenade attack on a United Nations vehicle in Kabul on Sunday, an Afghan official said.

The attack happened on a road frequently used by UN traffic shuttling workers between central Kabul and a large UN compound on the outskirts of the capital.

“At around 6:20 pm (1350 GMT) a grenade was hurled at a UN vehicle,” interior ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said.

Aside from the one fatality, Rahimi said five other people were wounded. The nationalities of the other victims were not released.

In a statement condemning the attack, the UN confirmed the fatality and said two other staff members — one Afghan and one international — were wounded.

“It is with profound sadness that the UN family in Afghanistan confirms the killing tonight of a colleague, as well as injuries to two others, when a UN-marked vehicle was attacked in Kabul,” the statement read.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack and the Taliban did not respond to a query.

The blast comes during what has been a period of relative and uneasy calm in Kabul, where the rate of large-scale attacks has dropped in recent weeks.

The comparative lull followed a blood-stained presidential campaign season that ended with a general election nearly two months ago.

But Afghans are still waiting for the results of that Sept 28 poll, with a recount bogged down by various technical difficulties and complaints from main candidates.

Additionally, Afghans are waiting to see what might happen next in negotiations between the Taliban and the US.

UN’s white vehicles, easily identifiable with the world body’s initials painted on the side, are rarely involved in attacks and circulate routinely around Kabul and in the provinces.

In 2011, seven foreign UN workers — including four Nepalis, a Swede, a Norwegian and a Romanian — were killed in an attack on a UN compound in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif.

Taliban storm army checkpoint, killing 8

An Afghan official says Taliban insurgents have stormed a checkpoint in a central province, killed at least eight Afghan soldiers.

Anwar Rahmati, the governor of Daykundi province where the attack took place, says four soldiers were also wounded in the hours-long gunbattle.

He said reinforcements were dispatched early Sunday to the area in Kajran district, driving off the Taliban and killing at least 20 of their fighters.

Qari Yusouf Ahmadi, a Taliban spokesman, claimed responsibility for the checkpoint attack.

He disputed the Taliban casualty figures provided by the governor, and said the insurgents had seized weapons and ammunition.

Published in Dawn, November 25th, 2019