06/18/2013, 00.00
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Kabul, attack on the Vice-President: three dead

The attack took place this morning, a few hours after the official announcement of the withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan. Mohammad Mohaqeq, vice-president and Hazara minority leader was unhurt. Three members of his entourage were killed. Catholic source: "The handover will be very hard."

Kabul (AsiaNews) - A suicide attack this morning struck a convoy carrying Haji Mohammad Mohaqeq, vice-president and leader of the Hazara minority. The attack took place in the west of Kabul and killed three people. The political leader was unharmed. The suicide bomber blew himself up on the day in which the Karzai government and NATO announced the start of the handover of security from international forces to the Afghan army. The process will end in 2014, when about 95 districts will be handed over to the Afghan authorities. Among them also the district of Kandahar, the Taliban stronghold.

AsiaNews sources, anonymous for security reasons, say that in recent weeks, "the Taliban have repeatedly threatened to carry out attacks against prominent personalities." For days now Kabul has been inundated with "shady characters" who slip through intelligence controls.

For sources, the Taliban do not want a dialogue with the new government, although some of them have agreed to open a diplomatic office in Doha to carry on a negotiation, but so far it has not yielded the desired results. "The transition - the sources explain - is not shared by everyone. The most radical forces are opposed. The handover will be very hard and risky and will involve mainly diplomats and politicians, not just the army."

The recent attacks by Islamic extremists have shown they can hit the center of Kabul, until a few years ago one of the safest areas of the country, just as Afghanistan prepares for presidential elections scheduled for 2014 in conjunction with the withdrawal of NATO troops.

On June 11 a car bomb killed 15 civilians outside the headquarters of the Supreme Court. The previous day, a shootout between Taliban and Afghan police rocked the city's airport. In late May, an attack that lasted seven hours hit the International Organization for Migration. Three people were killed in the shootout. Among the seriously injured was Barbara de Anna, an Italian citizen and officer of the organization.


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