Eight killed in Kabul diplomatic enclave bombing (Third Lead)

December 15th, 2009 - 5:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban Kabul, Dec 15 (DPA) Eight people, including four women, were killed and 40 were injured Tuesday in a suicide bombing in Kabul’s diplomatic enclave, officials said.
A Taliban spokesman denied involvement in the attack.

“As a result of the suicide attack today (Tuesday), four men and four women were martyred,” the interior ministry said in a statement.

President Hamid Karzai, speaking at a national anti-corruption conference, said the blast took place near the residence of his former first vice president Ahmad Zia Massoud, who was unharmed.

He said two of Massoud’s guards were among those killed.

The apparent car bombing occurred near the Heetal hotel in the Wazir Akbar Khan area, where several embassies and international organisations are located, police officer Abdul Matin said.

He said the blast came from a vehicle loaded with explosives.

The blast created a crater in the road and destroyed two two-storeyed buildings. Windows on nearby buildings have been shattered and a cloud of smoke was seen billowing from the area for several hours.

“Our office is about a half-kilometre away from the blast site, but the explosion was so big that it broke all the glass,” said Abdul Haseeb, an employee for a construction company.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid, who has regularly claimed responsibility in the past for attacks carried out by the Taliban or its allied groups, said Taliban fighters were not behind Tuesday’s bombing.

“It was not carried out by our friends,” he said.

Salem Hasas, a former Kabul police chief, was among those wounded, according to his neighbour Ahmad Zameer, who reported seeing the former commander at the scene of the attack.

“When the blast took place, I was some 30 metres away from the site,” said Mohammad Haroon, a worker for a non-governmental organisation who was supervising labourers at a nearby park. “There was a big fire that went up to 50 metres into the sky.”

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