Seven killed as gathering condemning violence targeted in Kabul

Marsha Scott
June 5, 2018

Afghan security forces keep watch at the site of a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, June 4, which targeted a meeting of the country's top Muslim clerics.

Afghan Ulema Council was meeting in Kabul on Monday when the attacker struck, detonating his explosives at the city's Polytechnic University where the council was meeting, the Associated Press reported.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, which underlines deteriorating security ahead of parliamentary and district council elections set for October 20.

The Afghan Ulema Council represents the country's most respected and influential Muslim clerics.

Najib Danish, spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said the fatalities included one policeman.

The sources added that 17 others were wounded.

About 2,000 members of the council had gathered for the meeting at the Grand Council tent erected in the Afghan capital's 5th District. The explosion struck as the council was ending and the participants were about to leave, Aziz said.

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It also appealed to both Afghan government forces and the Taliban and other militants to agree on a cease-fire and called for peace negotiations between the sides.

Seven of victims were clerics who had been invited from various parts of Afghanistan by President Ashraf Ghani's government, which has been seeking to make peace with the Taliban.

Earlier on Monday, the council had issued an Islamic ruling, or "fatwa", against suicide attacks, branding them "haram", or forbidden, by Islam.

Reading out a statement from the gathering, council member Ghofranullah Murad said that "the ongoing war in Afghanistan is illegal and has no root in Shari'a law".

"Suicide attacks, explosions for killing people, division, insurgency, different types of corruption, robbery, kidnapping and any type of violence are counted as big sins in Islam and are against the order of the Almighty Allah", they said.

The Taliban in April announced the start of their annual spring offensive but in recent years, the insurgent group and also the Islamic State affiliate in the country carry out near-daily attacks through all the seasons.

The Western-backed government in Kabul has been struggling to fend off the Taliban and other militant groups since the withdrawal of most North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troops in 2014.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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