Suicide bomb attack near Kabul airport leaves 14 dead
Posted July 22, 2018 12:47 p.m. EDT
(CNN) — Fourteen people were killed and 60 injured in a suicide bomb attack Sunday near Hamid Karzai International Airport in Afghanistan's capital of Kabul, according to a spokesman for Kabul's police chief.
Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum, the exiled Afghan vice president, was the target of the attack, said police spokesman Hashmat Stanikzai. Dostum fled to Turkey last year amid accusations of torture and abuse of political rival Ahmad Eshchi, but he returned to Afghanistan on Sunday.
An attacker detonated a bomb after being identified by police near the airport, Stanikzai said. A police officer was one of the casualties of the attack.
The violence comes a week after the release of a UN report stating the number of Afghan civilians killed in the first six months of 2018 has reached a record high. Almost 1,700 civilians were killed from January 1 to June 30, a total higher than at any comparable time in the last 10 years, according to the United Nations.
Last week, a suicide attack left at least seven people dead and injured 15 others at the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development in Kabul. A series of attacks in late April left 31 people dead, including 10 journalists, and in May, an explosion at a mosque in Khost killed at least 14 people.
The Afghan government announced in February it would be willing to recognize the Taliban, the Islamist militant group, as a legitimate political party as part of a potential ceasefire deal. US Defense Secretary James Mattis said in March that some factions of the Taliban have expressed interest in pursuing the peace talks.
Dostum, an Uzbek strongman and warlord in the early part of the Afghanistan War, fought against the Taliban on horseback alongside a 12-man team of Green Berets from the US Special Forces in 2001. He was portrayed by Navid Negahban in "12 Strong," a movie about that time after 9/11 that came out this year.