Blast damages UN guesthouse in Kabul
* No casualties but UN compound’s wall destroyed
* Guesthouse is close to presidential palace and ISAF headquarters
KABUL: A bomb blast destroyed the wall of a United Nations guesthouse close to the presidential palace in Kabul early Thursday but there were no casualties, the Afghan security service and international peacekeepers said.
“A bomb exploded at around 4:50am (0020 GMT) this morning,” intelligence officer Tajuddin said. “It did not cause any casualties but destroyed the wall of a UN compound in the first street, Shashdarak district,” said Tajuddin.
The bomb had been placed near the wall of the guesthouse compound, which is close to the heavily guarded presidential palace and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) headquarters in central Kabul.
The wall was totally destroyed by the blast which left a crater one metre across and smashed all the windows in the front of the guesthouse. “We don’t know yet who planted it,” Tajuddin said.
UN security officer Niaz Shah Mohammad said at the scene that three foreign UN workers were there at the time of the blast but were unhurt. “They’ve been moved to another place,” he said.
Afghan police were guarding the blast site and ISAF troops were investigating. The explosion also blew out the windows of a pharmacy opposite, where a worker was clearing away smashed glass.
“Neither the CLJ site, government buildings nor ISAF installations were affected,” ISAF said in a statement, referring to the site of the constitutional loya jirga (grand assembly) in west Kabul. “We continue to investigate the site and ISAF will be making further reports in due course.”
A surge in violence in southern and southeastern Afghanistan has forced aid agencies and the United Nations to suspend or scale back operations, undermining vital reconstruction and relief work in the war-ravaged country. Attacks on aid workers have risen in the past 12 months from once a month to once every two days, according to the CARE relief agency.
At least 12 humanitarian workers have been killed since the end of March, when a Salvadoran-born Red Cross worker was shot dead execution-style by suspected Taliban between Kandahar and neighbouring Uruzgan province.
Man arrested with 20 bombs near border with Pakistan: Security forces patrolling in eastern Afghanistan, near the Pakistani border, arrested a man for allegedly carrying 20 small homemade bombs for the Taliban militia, an official said on Friday.
The arrested man, Satam Khan, was arrested late Wednesday in Lalpura district, about 50 kilometres east of Jalalabad, which is capital of Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar province.
“Khan did not have any travel documents but told investigators he was a Pakistani,” said Bakhtiar Malang, the chief of security in Lalpura.
Malang said Khan was not a member of the Taliban, but allegedly carried the bombs for the militia for money. He will be handed over to the intelligence department in Jalalabad for further investigation, Malang said. —AFP/AP