Afghan Vice President Survives Deadly Blast    

An attack on Afghan First Vice President Amrullah Saleh in Kabul Wednesday morning killed at least 10 people and wounded scores of others, mostly pedestrians in the morning rush hour, according to officials with Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry. Officials said the explosion that targeted Saleh’s vehicle convoy was caused by a planted roadside bomb.   In this frame grab provided from a video by First Vice President Media office, First Vice President Amrullah Saleh stands in his office after an explosion in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sept. 9, 2020.Saleh escaped the attack on his bullet proof vehicle with only minor wounds to his face and hands. Soon after, he posted a short video message on Facebook describing the incident.  “The explosion was so strong that it melted the window of my vehicle,” he said, adding that he fully recognized that the country’s security forces faced such situations daily.  He apologized to people who lost their lives or property in the blast.   Saleh’s son, Ebad Saleh, who was accompanying his father and was unharmed in the attack, also posted on Twitter soon after the assault.  “I was with H.E FVP when our vehicle was targeted. I assure you he’s fine and everybody is fine, no martyrdom for us just yet,” he said.    A number of Saleh’s bodyguards were wounded and hospitalized. Akmal Samsoor, a spokesman for the ministry of public health, told VOA the casualty figure could rise.   Eyewitnesses said burning debris from the primary explosion caused a nearby shop selling gas cylinders to catch fire, causing a secondary explosion.    President Ashraf Ghani condemned the attack, saying the “terrorists and their foreign supporters cannot weaken our resolve.”   There was also condemnation from the European Union, whose office in Afghanistan, in a tweet, called it an “attack on the Republic, & desperate act by spoilers of peace efforts.” Saleh has been attacked multiple times before. An assault on his office last year killed 20 people.      Wednesday’s bombing comes ahead of a first round of peace negotiations between Taliban officials and a team of Afghans including government representatives.  The talks, scheduled to be held in Doha, have been delayed over an issue of releasing six Taliban high-profile prisoners wanted by Australia and France for targeting their citizens.   The Taliban has denied responsibility for Wednesday’s attack.       

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