Kabul bomb leaves three civilians dead as Afghan forces take over security from Nato

Roadside blast targets convoy of politician Mohammed Mohaqiq

A large bomb has killed three civilians in western Kabul this morning, shortly before the international military coalition officially passed responsibility for the security of Afghanistan to national forces.

According to Afghan police, a suicide attacker had been targeting the country’s second vice-president. Mohammed Mohaqiq, a senior Muslim cleric and leader of the Hazara ethnic minority, had passed the area in a convoy but was unharmed by the blast.

However, the chief of Kabul police’s criminal investigation division confirmed the attack, which occurred near the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, injured thirty people and killed three.  

“The roadside bomb targeted the Mohaqiq convoy but he safely passed. One of his vehicles was damaged,” he said, adding that six of the injured were bodyguards.

It is believed that Mohaqiq was targeted in his role as leader of the People's Islamic Unity Party of Afghanistan and member of the National Front, which represents the former Northern Alliance that fought the Taliban before the US invasion in 2001.

The attack is one of a series that has marked an increasingly intense campaign of violence in the run up to this morning’s security handover.  Last week saw two large-scale Taliban attacks in Afghan capital, with militants targeting the capital's airport on 10 June, and a suicide bomber killing at least 17 people outside the Supreme Court the next day.

Coupled with this latest explosion, Taliban activities are likely to cause concern over how the 352,000-strong Afghan security forces will tackle an intensifying insurgency after most foreign combat troops leave the country by the end of 2014.

This morning’s handover is a key milestone on the road to that withdrawal. Speaking to an audience of hundreds of local and international officials who gathered on the outskirts of the capital to watch the ceremony, President Hamid Karzai announced the Afghan Nation Army had officially taken control of the last 95 Nato-protected districts.

“Our security and defence forces will now be in the lead,” he said. ”From here, all security responsibility and all security leadership will be taken by our brave forces.“

Nato Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen added his tribute to the ”brave and committed“ soldiers in the Afghan armed forces and to those who had ”made the ultimate sacrifice to defend their country and their people“.

”They have fought to ensure that international terrorism no longer finds safe haven in Afghanistan,“ he said.

Included in the final districts to be handed are some of Afghanistan’s most unstable regions. There are 13 in Kandahar province - the birthplace of the Taliban - and 12 each in Nangarhar, Khost and Paktika, where insurgent activity along the border with Pakistan remains strong.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own