KABUL, (Xinhua): A powerful bomb blast rocked Afghan capital Kabul on Saturday, leaving six people dead and injuring 22 others, Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqi said.
“The coward blast claimed six lives including two security personnel and injured 22 others,” Sediqi said hours after the suicide car bombing.
Shortly before the deadly blast, President Hamid Karzai called on the Taliban and other insurgent groups to attend the upcoming Loya Jirga and present their opinion with regard to the controversial Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the United States.
“We have invited them to attend the Loya Jirga which is very important for Afghanistan,” Karzai told a press conference inside his fortified Presidential Palace Saturday morning. “They should attend the consultative Jirga and present their opinion no matter if they are in favor of it.”
The blast took place near the venue of the Loya Jirga due to be held next Thursday amid tight security.
Taliban militants fighting the government and NATO-led troops have denounced the consultative Loya Jirga as a trick to pave the way for permanent presence of U.S. military in the country and asked Afghans to boycott the traditional grand assembly.
Another armed outfit the Islamic party of Hizb-e-Islami led by Gulbudin Hekmatyar has rejected participation in the Loya Jirga, noting it would not tolerate foreign forces presence in Afghanistan.
A Kabul resident, Ahmad Fawad, in his reaction to the blast ahead of the Loya Jirga, said Taliban would do its best to disrupt the coming Jirga.
Another Afghan, Karim Khan, also expressed concern over the security situation, saying, “today’s suicide attack has shattered the hope for having a Loya Jirga in peaceful environment.”