Scores of people including the Kabul police chief were killed and wounded in a massive suicide bombing in the southern Kandahar city Wednesday morning, witnesses and security officials said.
The bomb went off with a big bang inside the Abdul Rab Akhunzada Mosque at 9:00am when a large number of people including senior government officials were performing qul for the Kandahar Ulema Council leader Mullah Abdullah Fayyaz.
Giving an eyewitness account, Mohammad Essa told Pajhwok Afghan News Kabul police chief Gen. Mohammad Akram Khakrezwal, widely respected for his commitment to boosting security in the Afghan capital city, was among the fatalities.
Khakrezwal had gone to the Taliban stronghold to participate in the soyem for the pro-government religious scholar, who was gunned down by two unidentified motorcyclists in the increasingly shambolic city on Sunday.
Although the killing of Khakrezwal is yet to be confirmed officially, a knowledgeable source in the Interior Ministry revealed the senior police officer was among the victims. "Yes, we have received reports that Khakrezwal has perished in the blast," he said on condition of anonymity.
According to participants of the religious ceremony, the explosion jolted the mosque as soon as a man clad in military fatigues entered the premises. "Pools of blood and charred human body parts could be seen all over the place, as the injured screaming out in terror ran for the exit," an eyewitness claimed.
Abdul Jabbar, a doctor at Kandahar's Mirwais Hospital, confirmed they had received 16 dead bodies and 30 injured people, some of them in critical condition. He feared the death toll could go up as many of the injured including government officials were in serious condition.
Interior Ministry spokesman Lutfullah Mashal put the number of fatalities at more than 30, but witnesses claimed the toll could be even higher because "we saw nearly 33 bodies." Up to 70 people were inside the worship-place to offer prayers for the renowned scholar at the time of the bombing.
Soon after Maulvi Fayyaz's slaying vehemently denounced by President Hamid Karzai as a cowardly act, Taliban spokesman Latifullah Hakimi had claimed responsibility for the killing.
Just a week earlier, the ousted student militia had threatened to kill ulema drumming support for the upcoming parliamentary elections scheduled for September 18.
It will be pertinent to explain Gen. Akram Khakrezwal was appointed as Kabul police chief two months back. His resolute stance against armed gangs, bandits and anti-state elements earned him a robust reputation for professional integrity.
In the Taliban era, he had served as Helmand police chief, a province out of the student militia's control at that time. Before assuming charge of office in Kabul, he headed the Balakh police force.
The son of Haji Shahjehan, Khakrezwal was born in Kandahar. After college education, he underwent top-level police training and held a number of senior positions.
news source: pajhwak
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