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Blast in Afghanistan’s Kabul kills 14, returning VP unharmed

Blast in Afghanistan's Kabul kills 14, returning VP unharmed

Kabul, July 23 : Afghanistan’s first vice president, a former Uzbek warlord, escaped unharmed from an explosion near the airport as he returned home on Sunday after living in Turkey for over a year, according to security officials.

Najib Danish, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said a suicide bomber carried out the attack near Kabul International Airport shortly after the convoy of the country’s controversial first vice president had left the airport.

Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum and his entourage were unharmed, said Danish.

Danish said that 14 people, including both civilians and military forces, were killed in the attack and 50 others wounded.

The Islamic States group’s local affiliate claimed responsibility for the attack on its Amaaq News Agency website.

In a statement from the presidential palace, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani strongly condemned the attack.

Dostum had been undergoing medical treatment in Turkey, and is now well and ready to resume work, said presidential spokesman Haroon Chakhansuri.

Dostum left Afghanistan in 2017 after the attorney-general’s office launched an investigation into allegations that his followers had tortured and sexually abused a former ally turned political rival. He has since reportedly been barred by the government from returning to Afghanistan.

It was not immediately clear whether Dostum will now face any charges.

“The judiciary in Afghanistan is an independent body and will carry out its duties and responsibilities as it deems appropriate,” said an official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment on the issue.

Dostum, accused of war crimes committed after the fall of the Taliban government in 2001, has also been criticized by the United States for human rights abuses.