Senior Afghan official survives suicide bomber attack in Kabul

Senior Afghan official survives suicide bomber attack in Kabul

PanARMENIAN.Net - A suicide car bombing in Kabul aimed at a senior government official killed one civilian and wounded three others on Saturday, June 21 but did not harm its apparent target, Afghan security officials said, according to the Associated Press.

Kabul police spokesman Hashmat Stanikzai said a suicide bomber detonated his explosives-laden vehicle alongside the armored car of Mohammed Masoom Stanikzai, a senior official in the High Peace Council, a government body tasked with peace talks with the Taliban insurgency. The two men are not related.

Shafiullah, a police officer at the scene, said Stanikzai, who also serves as an adviser to President Hamid Karzai, was not harmed because he was traveling in an armored car. He said that while the explosion was "very strong" it took place early in the morning when the streets were relatively empty. Like many Afghans, the police officer only has one name.

No group claimed responsibility for the attack, but the Taliban frequently launch suicide attacks against Afghan civilians, government officials and security forces.

The attack came a week after a presidential runoff to choose a successor to Karzai, who has governed Afghanistan since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion toppled the Taliban.

Former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah, who is running against Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, a former finance minister, has accused electoral officials and others of trying to rig the June 14 vote against him. That has threatened what Western officials had hoped would be a peaceful transfer of authority, as Karzai is constitutionally barred from seeking a third term.

Abdullah announced this week that he was severing ties with the Independent Election Commission and would refuse to recognize any results it releases. He also suggested that the UN step in, an idea supported by Karzai. The IEC's official timetable says initial results are due on July 2.

Afghanistan's next president is expected to sign a long-delayed security pact to allow some U.S. troops to remain in the country after most foreign forces withdraw by the end of the year.

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