The Latest: Afghan president condemns IS attack in Kabul
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Latest on developments in Afghanistan (all times local):
The Afghan president has condemned a suicide bombing that targeted a gathering of Shiite Hazaras in Kabul. The attack has been claimed by the Islamic State group.
President Ashraf Ghani’s statement, shortly after the bombing on Friday in western Kabul, promised that those behind the attack would be given the death penalty, if found and convicted.
He said the bombing was intended to frighten Afghans but that the perpetrators would not succeed.
Meanwhile, the Islamic State group in a statement posted on an IS-affiliated website said it was behind the Kabul attack.
The claim says IS targeted a gathering of Shiites as they were commemorating the death of a “tyrant.” The gathering was actually commemorating the 1995 death of Hazara leader Abdul Ali Mazari, killed at the hands of the Taliban.
Afghan officials have raised the death toll for the latest attacks in the country — the suicide bombing in the capital, Kabul, and an overnight Taliban assault on an army outpost in the north.
Basir Mujahid, spokesman for the Kabul police chief, says the bomber who blew himself up at a police checkpoint outside a Hazara gathering in western Kabul killed nine, including a policeman. He says 18 were wounded in Friday’s attack.
Earlier reports said seven were killed and 15 wounded.
Meanwhile, Defense Ministry spokesman Dawlat Waziri said that six soldiers were killed and five were wounded in the hours-long Taliban assault an army outpost in a remote region of northern Takhar province.
Earlier, provincial police spokesman Khali Aseir had reported that 10 local policemen were killed and nine were wounded in a Taliban ambush as they tried to make their way to the outpost to help the besieged soldiers in the district of Khwaja Ghar.
An Afghan official says a suicide bomber targeting a gathering of ethnic Hazaras in the capital, Kabul, blew himself up at a police checkpoint outside the venue, killing seven people and wounding 14.
The Interior Ministry’s deputy spokesman, Nasrat Rahimi, says a police officer was among the dead in Friday’s attack, which took place in western Kabul as hundreds of Hazaras gathered to commemorate the 1995 death of one of their leaders, Abdul Ali Mazari, who was slain by the Taliban.
No group has immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. Afghanistan’s minority Shiites, who are mostly Hazaras, have lately been frequently targeted in militant attacks, either by the Taliban or the Islamic State affiliate operating in Afghanistan.
The Sunni militants consider the Shiites heretics and urge followers to kill them.
An Afghan official says the Taliban launched a deadly assault on an army outpost in a remote region of northern Takhar province, killing 10 local policemen and wounding nine.
Provincial police spokesman Khali Aseir said on Friday that a large number of Taliban fighters assaulted the outpost overnight.
He says the members of the local police were ambushed and killed while on their way to the outpost to assist the Afghan soldiers in the remote district of Khwaja Ghar.
The soldiers suffered no casualties.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the assault late Thursday and the police slayings. He claimed the Taliban had inflicted a far higher number of casualties but the insurgents often exaggerate their claims.
The report couldn’t be independently confirmed because of the area’s remoteness.