14 killed in suicide bombing on Afghan clerics’ meeting

Kabul: At least 14 people were killed in a suicide bombing on a gathering of Afghanistan’s top clerics here on Monday, police said.

The bomber detonated his explosives near the entrance of a compound where over 2,000 religious scholars were meeting in the tent of the Loya Jirga, the council of elders, close to the Kabul Polytechnic University immediately after the clerics issued a fatwa against suicide bombings, the Afghan media reported.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. Initially, four people were reported killed but according to latest updates, the death toll climbed to 14. At least 17 were injured in the attack, TOLO News reported.

“The suicide attack happened outside the (Loya Jirga) tent when religious scholars were leaving the gathering,” Kabul Police spokesman Hashmat Stanikzai said. It was not immediately clear how many of them were among those killed.

“War in its all types is illegal according to Sharia and Islamic laws and it is nothing but shedding the blood of Muslims,” the Afghan clerics said in the fatwa.

“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 clerics also urged the Taliban to accept the Afghan government’s “unconditional” peace offer.

Kabul has been the target of multiple suicide attacks so far this year.

The bloodiest was in January when the Taliban blew up an ambulance bomb near the old Interior Ministry building, leaving more than 100 people dead.

Another such attack in Kabul took place last week, when a group of insurgents attacked the Interior Ministry, leading to a two-hour long siege, in which 10 attackers and one police official were killed.