Kabul, Sep 9 (efe-epa).- The vice president of Afghanistan, Amrullah Saleh, escaped with minor injuries in an attack in Kabul on Wednesday that left at least 10 civilians dead and 15 wounded, officials said.
Suspected militants attacked around 7.35 am local time in Taimani Sabiqa Square, when explosives placed in the area detonated as Saleh’s convoy was passing through, according to a statement by Interior Ministry spokesperson Tariq Arian.
“Ten civilians, mostly those working in the area, were martyred and 15 others, including a number of the first vice president’s bodyguards, were wounded,” Arian said.
The spokesperson attributed the attack to the “enemy of the people” of Afghanistan but did not name any insurgent group.
He said the number of casualties could rise and that more details of the attack would be known as investigations progressed.
Saleh released a video message – in which his left hand was covered in a bandage – to addressing the people about the incident and assure them of his safety.
“I and my young son, Ebadullah Jan, who was with me, were not harmed, only a slight level of burns on my face and my hand injured slightly,” Saleh said.
However, he added that “a number of my brave bodyguards” were wounded and had been taken to the National Directorate of Security Hospital as a result of the blast that “produced a strong wave, (and) melted (my) car’s windowpane.”
Saleh also apologized for the casualties and material damages caused due to the attack on his convoy.
Images of the site of the attack following the explosion showed significant damage to the area along with shattered building facades and parts of charred vehicles.
The nature of the explosion remains unknown.
Although the attack has not been claimed by an armed group in the country, the Taliban immediately disassociated itself from the incident.
Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid posted a “clarification” on Twitter, saying they have nothing to do with the blast in Kabul.
Saleh, a former intelligence chief, has survived several attacks on his life in the past, including one at his office a year ago that left 24 dead during an election campaign in which he was running mate to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
The attack comes as the country gears up for intra-Afghan talks involving the Taliban and the government that could usher in peace after nearly two decades of conflict.
A prisoner exchange process between the two sides, which was a precondition for the talks, was concluded last week after a delay of nearly six months, following an agreement between the United States and the insurgents in Doha in late February. EFE-EPA