Suicide bomber kills at least nine in Kabul Shiite area

Suicide bomber kills at least nine in Kabul Shiite area
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Kabul: A suicide bomber blew himself up in a Shiite area of Kabul today, killing at least nine people, officials said, as militants dial up pressure on the war-weary Afghan capital.
The third suicide attack in the city in a fortnight comes as the Taliban face growing pressure to take up the Afghan government’s recent offer of peace talks to end a more than 16-year insurgency that has claimed thousands of lives.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast, which happened near a high-profile gathering to mark the 23rd anniversary of the death of Abdul Ali Mazari — a prominent former leader of the mainly Shiite Hazara ethnic community who was killed by the Taliban.
The event was attended by some of the country’s top politicians, including Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah and his deputy Mohammad Mohaqiq, a senior Hazara figure.
“The death toll has gone up to nine,” deputy interior ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi told AFP, adding 18 others were wounded.
Among the dead were two policemen, he said. The rest were civilians. Officials said the attacker was on foot.