Kabul bomb attack leaves at least nine dead

Kabul bomb attack leaves at least nine dead
The scene of the March 9 bombing in Kabul.

A suicide bomber killed at least nine people in the Afghan capital of Kabul, a spokesman for the Ministry of the Interior told CNN Friday.

The bomber detonated his explosive device after being stopped at a security checkpoint as crowds gathered for a memorial to mark the anniversary of the death of former political leader Abdul Ali Mazari. The Taliban killed Mazari, a leader from the Hazara ethnic group, in 1995.

Wahid Majroh, a spokesman for the Ministry of Public Health, confirmed that at least 18 people had been injured.

The attack is the latest in a string of violent incidents in the Afghan capital and the country as a whole.

In January, Taliban gunmen stormed the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul, killing 22 people. Days later, the group claimed responsibility for an attack outside a hospital in which militants detonated explosives packed inside an ambulance. Nearly 100 people were killed in that attack.

No one has claimed responsibility for Friday’s blast yet, but it comes less than two weeks after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani offered to recognize the Taliban as an official political party if it was to enter peace talks. The group has not publicly responded to the proposal.

“We are offering this not out of some desperation but out of courage and conviction that the violence that is inflicted on our people, the type of violence that they are resorting to, is an indication of weakness, not strength,” Ghani told CNN in an interview last month.

Data released by the US in January showed that the Taliban’s hold on Afghanistan is increasing.