Wed, 01 Feb 2023

Kabul [Afghanistan], December 2 (ANI): Former Afghan Prime Minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's building was attacked on Friday in Kabul resulting in the death of one person and injury to two others, reported Tolo News.

Hekmatyar, however, escaped unhurt, his office said in a statement.

Security guards killed the two attackers as they tried to enter a mosque where Hekmatyar and his supporters had gathered for Friday prayers, the statement said, reported Al Jazeera.

The attack took place on Hekmatyar's building in Darulaman area of Kabul. Hekmatyar is the leader of the Hizb-e-Islami party.

Hekmatyar later said in a video message that the attackers were suicide bombers disguised in women's burqas who intended to blow him up, reported Al Jazeera.

Witnesses said the attackers entered the office area wearing a burqa, but they did not reach the target. The incident took place at the same time as the Friday prayer, reported Tolo News.

"I assure my countrymen, a failed attempt happened here by those who have done it many times but have failed," Hekmatyar said, adding it was not yet clear who was behind the attack.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for either of the attacks in Kabul.

Hekmatyar, who battled US forces after the 2001 invasion and nursed a bitter rivalry with other Afghan factions, agreed to lay down arms in 2017 and join a peace deal with former President Ashraf Ghani.

Hekmatyar stayed in Kabul after the Taliban took power last year, even as Ghani and other former leaders fled.

The former strongman founded Hezb-i-Islami in the mid-1970s as one of the main Mujahideen groups fighting the Soviets in the 1980s. He then took part in the civil war that erupted after their withdrawal, clashing with the so-called Northern Alliance, before the Taliban first seized power in the late 1990s.

Hamid Karzai, former president of Afghanistan, condemned the attack on Hekmatyar's office in Kabul, saying on Twitter that the attacks on Afghan citizens and leaders are an effort by the enemies to "weaken and divide" the country.

The incident took place on the same day Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif condemned what he claimed was an assassination attempt on the country's head of mission in Kabul. Taliban authorities did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The head of mission, Ubaid-ur-Rehman Nizamani, was the target of an attack on its embassy compound, Pakistan's foreign ministry said on Friday.

"I strongly condemn the dastardly assassination attempt on Pakistan Head of Mission, Kabul," Sharif said on Twitter.

The attacker failed to harm the Pakistani diplomat, but shot and wounded his security guard, Sharif added. No immediate confirmation on the security guard's condition was available, reported Al Jazeera.

"I demand immediate investigationaction against perpetrators of this heinous act," Sharif tweeted.

An embassy official said a lone attacker "came behind the cover of houses and started firing".

"The ambassador and all the other staff are safe, but we are not going outside of the embassy building as a precaution," Al Jazeera quoted him as saying.

Nizamani arrived in Kabul last month to take up the role at one of the few embassies that had remained operational throughout the period after the Taliban took over the country in August 2021. (ANI)

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