Blasts in Kabul hit near ceremony attended by top officials

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) – Several explosions struck yesterday outside a ceremony in Kabul attended by Afghanistan’s Chief Executive and the former president, both of whom were unharmed, officials said. There was conflicting information as to the casualty figures.

An official with the city’s ambulance services, Mohammad Asim, said five people were wounded in the explosions and were taken to local hospitals. More ambulances were at the site to ferry the injured, Asim added.

Another official, who was at the ceremony, said seven people were killed and 10 wounded.

He spoke on condition of anonymity to talk to reporters.

The different accounts on the casualties could not immediately be reconciled.

There was also no claim of responsibility in the immediate aftermath of the blasts.

However, Deputy Spokesman for the Interior Ministry Nusrat Rahimi said the blasts were due to mortar shells being fired and that one person has been arrested. Rahimi declined to answer questions on casualties.

The ceremony was commemorating the 1995 death of prominent minority Hazara leader Abdul Ali Mazari, who was killed by the Taleban. Afghanistan’s Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah and former president Hamid Karzai attended the gathering.