Mostly poor hawkers killed in Kunar suicide attack
ASADABAD (Pajhwok): Most of the 13 people killed in Saturday’s suicide attack in eastern Kunar province were roadside vendors, officials and eyewitnesses said.
Another 40 people, mostly civilians, were wounded in the attack that took place in Shahidan square near the governor’s house in Asadabad, the capital of Kunar province around 9:30am.
Governor Wahidullah Kalimzai told Pajhwok Afghan News the attack happened close to the governor’s house gate. He confirmed at least 13 civilians had been killed and another 40 wounded in the attack.
The exact target of the attack remained unclear, but a tribal elder and former jihadi commander Haji Khan Jan, a resident of Dangam district, who was among the dead, is believed to be the target.
Few months ago, residents of Dangam district, led by Haji Khan Jan, waged an uprising against militants.
Haji Sakhi Mashwani, who represents Kunar people in the Wolesi Jirga, said that the target of the attack was Haji Khan Jan.
Kunar public health deputy director Dr. Ihsan Ihsanullah Fazli confirmed receiving 11 dead bodies and 40 people wounded to the civil hospital. He said seven people who were in critical condition had been shifted to neighbouring Nangarhar province.
An eyewitness Mohammad Naser said he saw several dead and wounded people lying on the ground all around in the incident area.
“The injured people were shouting for help to take them to hospital, police and people arrived few minutes later and evacuated the wounded and the dead,” he said.
He added most of the victims were hawkers selling cooked pea, Bolani and mobile telephone credit cards.
Abdul Aziz, another eyewitness, told Pajhwok Afghan News that a number of young moneychangers were among the dead. He said most of the people killed or wounded were poor people supporting their families.
“Anyone behind this attack would respond to God one day about this mass killing,” Aziz added.
Khan Mohammad, a resident of Marawara district, said five people, residents of his village including two brothers, were killed, and another two brothers and a brother-in-law were wounded in the attack.
He said his villagers were selling SIM cards and bolani on roadsides of Asadabad city.
Meanwhile, President Ashraf Ghani and CEO Dr. Abdullah Abdullah strongly condemned the incident.
President Ghani said killing civilians was a major and unforgiveable crime, which was against all laws and religions.
“The Afghan government would not negotiate peace with those who kill our people,” he said.
Abdullah also said those killing the Afghans would be destroyed by Afghan forces.
Meanwhile, the US Embassy in Kabul emphatically condemned the terrorist attack in Kunar. In a statement, the US embassy said the attack killed innocent civilians, including children.
“The Afghan people deserve peace and security, not attacks like this one against innocent civilians. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the victims.”
The embassy said the United States would continue to advocate for a peace process that “will bring an end once and for all to callous attacks against civilians.”
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