Two suicide attacks leave 21 dead in Afghanistan
KABUL -- Two suicide bombings shocked Afghan capital Kabul and the southeastern Khost province on Saturday, killing 21 people including two attackers and injuring 15 others, all civilians, officials confirmed.
In the first deadly incident which happened in the fortified capital city Kabul, nine people were killed and 13 others sustained injuries, Kabul police said in a statement released here.
"A suicide bomber riding a bicycle blew himself up next to the entry gate of defense ministry compound at 09:00 a.m. local time killing nine civilians and injuring 13 others including two military personnel," the statement added.
The bomber was also killed in his blast, it added. Meantime, Defense Ministry spokesman Zahir Azimi in talks with media rejected inflicting casualties to military personnel, saying all the victims were non-combatants.
The blast coincided with the visiting Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel to Afghanistan where he is expected to call on President Hamid Karzai and exchange views on security situation in Afghanistan, remaining contingent of troops after 2014. The U.S. military had scheduled to hand over the Bagram prison to Afghan government on Saturday but the program was cancelled, according to defense ministry officials.
Meantime, Zabihullah Mujahid who claims to speak for the Taliban outfit in talks with media via telephone from unknown location claimed of responsibility, saying a Taliban loyalist named Mohammad Kandahari blew himself up killing over a dozen military personnel, a claim rejected by military officials as groundless.
In the second suicide bombing which took place in Khost province 150 km southeast of Kabul, 10 people were killed and two others sustained injuries.
"A terrorist strapped explosive device in his body blew himself up next to the convoy of NATO-led troops in Kandi area outside provincial capital the Khost city at around 10:30 killing 10 people including nine civilians and a police constable and injuring two people, both civilians," police official Sardar Mohammad told Xinhua.
The bomber was also killed in his blast, he added.