5 June 2018Hot off the Press
Eight people are dead and nine others injured after a suicide bomber on a motorcycle targeted a gathering of Afghanistan’s top clerics on Monday in Kabul.
Only shortly before the bomb was detonated, the clerics had issued a fatwa, a religious ruling against suicide bombings, and urged peace talks to finally end the Afghan war.
Police chief of Kabul’s fifth district, Ghafor Aziz, said that the bomber detonated the explosives near the entrance of a compound where the religious body, Afghan Ulema Council, was meeting under the traditional tent of the Loya Jirga, the council of elders.
The gathering, which included about 2,000 members of the council, was struck by the bomb just as it was reaching its conclusion and members were starting to leave, Mr Aziz said.
The causalities could have been significantly higher if the suspect had set the bomb off deeper into the building, Mr Aziz also stated.
Najib Danish, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said the fatalities included one policeman.
Two policemen were among those injured in the bombing, he added.
The attack came only an hour after Ghofranullah Murad, a member of the council, read aloud a written statement to the gathering that Afghan men, women, and children are the true victims of the 17-year-long war.
“The ongoing war in Afghanistan is illegal and has no root in Sharia [Islamic] law,” the statement said.
“It is illegal according to Islamic laws, and it does nothing but shed the blood of Muslims.”
“We, the religious Ulema, call on the Taliban to respond positively to the peace offer of the Afghan Government in order to prevent further bloodshed in the country,” it added.
The fatwa also said that killing people by any means — such as bombs and suicide attacks — as well as violent acts, including robbery and kidnapping, count as sins in Islam.
The council also called for peace negotiations between the two sides — the first time they have issued such an appeal.