Afghan VP Amrullah Saleh escapes deadly bomb attack in Kabul

A roadside bomb in Kabul targeted Afghan First Vice President Amrullah Saleh on Wednesday morning, his spokesman said, but he escaped the attack unharmed.

Initially, Interior Ministry spokesman Tariq Arian said at least two civilians died but the death toll later rose to 10. The ministry said at least 15 people were wounded.

The Taliban, who have pledged not to launch attacks in urban areas under a deal with the United States, denied responsibility.

In a video posted on Facebook soon after the explosion, Saleh, with bandages on his left hand, said he had been travelling to his office when his convoy was attacked.

“I am fine but some of my guards have been wounded. My son, who was in the car with me, and I are both fine,” Saleh said.

“I have some burns on my face and hand. The blast was strong.”

‘Vicious terrorist attempt failed’

Saleh, a former intelligence chief and an outspoken Taliban critic, has survived several assassination attempts, including one on his office last year ahead of presidential elections that killed 20 people.

“This vicious terrorist attempt has failed and Saleh survived today’s bombing in Kabul,” Saleh’s spokesperson Razwan Murad said, without offering more details.

The roads in the vicinity of the bombing were closed off.

Interior Ministry spokesman Arian said the blast also ignited a huge fire in the area, a section of Kabul where shops sell gas cylinders for use in heating homes and cooking. He feared the casualty figures could rise further.

Journalist Naseer Rahin in Kabul told Al Jazeera there was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombing, which comes just before long-awaited peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban in Qatar’s capital, Doha.

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