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Ghani Says Kabul Attack 'Against Values Of Islam,' Backs Suicide Bomb Fatwa

FILE: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani
FILE: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has condemned a deadly suicide bombing outside a gathering of the country's top religious body in Kabul, and backed its religious order, or fatwa, against such attacks.

"The attack that targeted the large gathering of clerics and religious scholars from across the country was in fact an attack against the heirs of the prophet of Islam and the values of Islam," Ghani said in a video address after the June 4 bombing.

The president also expressed support for the fatwa against suicide bombings, saying, "Unfortunately, the imposed war in Afghanistan every day takes lives of our innocent children."

Some reports said a total 14 people died in the Kabul attack, including seven clerics.

A local affiliate of the Islamic State (IS) extremist group claimed responsibility, while the Taliban denied involvement.

The U.S. State Department condemned the bombing, saying it "exposes the terrorists' inhumanity and contradicts the Islamic principles and legitimacy they claim to defend."

Officials said the suicide bomber detonated his explosives near the entrance of a compound in the west of Kabul where the Afghan Ulema Council was meeting.

The attacker struck after around 2,000 Muslim clerics, scholars, and figures of authority in religion and law from across Afghanistan who had gathered for the meeting issued a fatwa declaring suicide attacks forbidden, or "haram," under the principles of Islam.

They also appealed on both the Afghan government forces and the Taliban and other militants to agree on a cease-fire, and called for peace negotiations between the sides.

Militant attacks have killed dozens of people in Kabul in recent months, showing no sign of easing during the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan.

On May 30, an attack on the Interior Ministry in the city killed one policeman, officials said. A suicide bomber and all seven gunmen involved also died in the assault, which was claimed by the IS group.

Meanwhile, the Taliban has stepped up its attacks against Afghan security forces as well as government officials across the country since the announcement of its spring offensive in April.

With reporting by Reuters