At least 11 people have been killed at 14 wounded in a suicide bomb blast near Kabul’s international airport that struck minutes after Afghan Vice President Rashid Dostum returned to the country after more than a year in exile, police told Aljazeera.
Kabul police spokesman Hashmat Stanekzai said the blast on Sunday went off near the main airport entrance, where supporters had been waiting to greet Dostum as his motorcade passed on its way to the city centre.
Dostum, who was travelling in an armoured vehicle, was unharmed, according to his spokesman Bashir Ahmad Tayanj.
“The blast happened right after Dostum’s convoy left the airport,” said Stanekzai
Civilians, including a child, and security force members were among the casualties, according to Najib Danish, interior ministry spokesman.
He added that the suicide bomber was identified by police but he detonated his explosive vest before he could be safely apprehended.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Dostum, who is linked to a number of of human rights abuses in Afghanistan, was mobbed like a celebrity as he left the chartered plane from Turkey where he has lived since May 2017.
His return, which has been the subject of much speculation, comes amid violent protests in several provinces across northern Afghanistan, his traditional power base.
Thousands of Dostum’s supporters have taken to the streets in recent weeks, shuttering election and government offices and blocking sections of highways to demand the release of a pro-government militia leader and call for Dostum’s return.