Kabul (July 22, 2018): At least 11 people have been killed and 14 others wounded as a suicide bomber blew himself up at the entrance to Kabul international airport shortly after Afghan Vice-President Abdul Rashid Dostum returned from self-imposed exile today.
The interior ministry said 11 people were killed in a square that Gen Dostum had just passed through. He was unhurt. The ethnic Uzbek and former warlord was cheered by supporters on arrival.He left for Turkey more than a year ago, accused of ordering his men to kidnap and rape a political rival, accusations he denies.
Hashmat Estankzai, of Kabul police, said that a suicide attacker on foot had set off his explosives outside the gate of the airport. He said at least 14 people were also injured in the blast.Some reports said Gen Dostum’s convoy was departing as the blast was heard. He was in an armoured vehicle.
Gen Dostum’s reappearance was preceded by unrest in his power base in northern Afghanistan, as supporters demanded his return and the release of a militia leader.Analysts believe President Ashraf Ghani sanctioned the return of Gen Dostum to try to shore up support ahead of the presidential election next year.
Gen Dostum helped the US oust the Taleban in 2001 but has been blamed for some of the worst atrocities in the country’s long-running civil war. He joined its national unity government in 2014.