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United Arab Emirates says 5 officials among dead in Afghan blasts

The windows were blown out of a government guesthouse in Kandahar and its facade was charred after explosions Wednesday. Allauddin Khan/Associated Press

KABUL — The United Arab Emirates said Wednesday five of its officials were among those killed in explosions at the governor’s compound in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar on Tuesday.

The explosions, believed to have been caused by bombs placed in couches before a reception for the visiting United Arab Emirates ambassador and his delegation, killed at least 11 people and wounded 18. Among the dead were an Afghan senator, a member of the lower house of the Afghan Parliament, Kandahar province’s deputy governor, and an Afghan diplomat to the United States.

The governor of Kandahar province, Humayoon Azizi, and the ambassador of the United Arab Emirates, Juma Mohammed Abdullah al-Kaabi, were wounded, but their injuries were not considered life-threatening, according to General Abdul Raziq, the provincial police chief.

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The president of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan, said in a statement the officials were in Kandahar “to carry out humanitarian, educational, and development projects.”

Raziq said he suspected involvement in the attack by the Haqqani network, a Taliban faction, and by Pakistan’s powerful military spy agency, the Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence, better known as the ISI, while providing no evidence for the assertion.

“For a long time now, the Haqqani network and the ISI were busy working to take out the military council of Kandahar,” Raziq said, referring to the provincial leadership that includes the governor, the police chief, and other senior officials. “We had different reports — that it would be a motor bomb, or this or that. In the end, they used the construction work that was going on at the governor’s compound.”

He said five men, who were among 30 construction workers at the site, were arrested and questioned.

The explosions in Kandahar capped a bloody day in Afghanistan. A bombing targeted a meeting of militia commanders in the southern city of Lashkar Gah, killing seven to 11 people, according to various Afghan officials. Hours later, a double bombing that was claimed by the Taliban killed at least 30 and wounded 80 outside the Parliament during the early evening rush hour.

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New York Times