KABUL: One person was killed on Friday in a suicide bomb attack near the Kabul office of the Hezb-i-Islami party, former Afghan prime minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar said.

Multiple attackers were killed and several guards injured in the suicide bomb attack, according to three Hezb-i-Islami sources and one source with the ruling Taliban.

Party leader Mr Hekmatyar said in a video statement that one person had been killed and two injured.

“I assure my countrymen, a failed attempt happened here by those who have done it many times but have failed,” Mr Hekmatyar said, adding it was not yet clear who was behind the attack.

“It cannot lower our morale or our resistance... we will stand with our nation,” he said.

Kabul police and the interior ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The attack on the Hezb-i-Islami party office occurred near a mosque where senior party leaders present were unhurt, according to the party statement.

One Taliban and one party source said a vehicle belonging to the attackers and packed with explosives had detonated near the office. The firing took place and two attackers were killed while trying to enter the mosque, they said.

Mr Hekmatyar said the attackers were wearing suicide explosive vests and that one was wearing a woman’s burqa.

The attack took place the same day as an apparently failed assassination attempt at the Pakistan Embassy.

Pakistan’s foreign office said its embassy in Kabul had come under attack targeting the head of mission, Ubaidur Rehman Nizamani, who escaped unscathed while a guard was critically injured.

Nizamani arrived in Kabul last month to take up the role at one of the few embassies that had remained operational throughout the period after the Taliban took over Afghanistan in August 2021.

Several bombing and shooting attacks have taken place in Afghanistan in recent months, some of which have been claimed by Islamic State militants. A blast at a madrassa on Wednesday in northern Afghanistan killed at least 15 people.

The Taliban, who seized power after the US-led foreign forces withdrew in August 2021, have said they are focused on securing the country. Mr Hekmatyar founded Hezb-i-Islami in the mid-1970s as one of the main mujahideen groups fighting the 1980s Soviet invasion of Afgha­nistan from its base in Pakistan. He held the office of prime minister twice during the 1990s.

Published in Dawn, December 3rd, 2022

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