Suicide bombers attack Kabul shortly after Obama’s visit

May 3rd, 2012 - 4:11 am ICT by BNO News  

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN (BNO NEWS) — Three suicide bombers attacked the Afghan capital of Kabul on early Wednesday morning, killing at least seven people and injuring several others, officials said. It happened shortly after an unannounced visit by U.S. President Barack Obama.

The attack began at around 6 a.m. local time in the eastern area of Kabul, about 95 minutes after Air Force One carrying Obama had departed Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. The eastern area of Kabul is where many Westerners live, being home to a compound of guesthouses known as the ‘Green Village.’

The Interior Ministry said three suicide bombers carried out the assault, which began when one of them blew up an explosives-laden car near the compound housing the Westerners. Two other suicide bombers, reportedly disguised as women by wearing a burqas, then clashed with Afghan forces before detonating their explosives.

At least seven civilians were killed in the attack, including four people in a nearby vehicle, two people nearby and a Nepalese security guard. The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said eight civilians were killed, although this figure was not immediately confirmed by Afghan officials. At least seventeen people, including students from a nearby school, were injured.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was quickly planned within hours after the group learned Obama had arrived in Afghanistan. “The western-influenced mainstream media claims about civilian casualties are absolutely false and everyone knows it,” he said, claiming that civilians are not allowed in that area.

Mujahid said the attack was a protest against Obama’s signing of a ten-page strategic partnership agreement pledging U.S. support for Afghanistan for a decade after 2014, when coalition forces are scheduled to conclude their combat role in the war-torn country. The agreement was signed during Obama’s visit to Kabul on Tuesday.

“The lethal blow was a message to Obama that the real Afghans are not those who sign the pact of slavery and selling out their land,” Mujahid said. “Contrarily, the true Afghans are those who never let such conspires happen, and root out all such nasty plots and ploys of the enemy by dealing deadly blows to the invading enemy.”

It could not be independently verified whether the Taliban were responsible for the attack or if it had been quickly planned to coincide with Obama’s unannounced visit. Wednesday also marked the one-year anniversary of a U.S. mission in Pakistan which led to the death of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, thus attacks had been expected.

“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, in this way, vow to continue to deal far more rigorous and fatal blows to the enemy and foil its every conspiracy in order to defend the Afghans’ beloved country and safeguard its sovereignty and honor,” Mujahid added, referring to the Taliban’s official name.

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) condemned the attack but praised Afghan security forces for what they described as a ‘capable and quick’ response. “This is another desperate attack by the Taliban, but again another noteworthy performance by Afghan Security Forces for taking the lead in putting down another desperate attack by insurgents,” said ISAF spokesman General Carsten Jacobson.

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