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Afghan Vice President Saleh 'Unharmed' In Deadly Attack On His Convoy In Kabul


Afghan Vice President Saleh 'Unharmed' In Deadly Roadside Bomb Attack In Kabul
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WATCH: Afghan Vice President Saleh 'Unharmed' In Deadly Roadside Bomb Attack In Kabul

KABUL -- Afghan First Vice President Amrullah Saleh has escaped with only slight injuries after an apparent assassination attempt in the capital early on September 9 that killed at least 10 people.

A bomb was said to have targeted a convoy carrying the 49-year-old former intelligence chief and his son.

A video posted to Facebook after the incident showed Saleh standing next to a flag with a bandaged left hand but otherwise looking well.

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

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

The incident comes with fears that increasing violence in Afghanistan could erode trust and set back planned talks to end the two-decade insurgency against the central government formed after the ousting of the fundamentalist Taliban in late 2001.

“The enemies of Afghanistan and the enemies of our leaders who want to defend this country's national interests with their lives and souls today again wanted to attack Amrullah Saleh," Saleh's spokesman, Rizwan Murad, told RFE/RL. "He survived the attack by the grace of God [and] having the prayers of his people."

A Taliban spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, in a message to media outlets denied the militant group's involvement in the attack on Saleh's convoy.

Afghan officials this week postponed a scheduled trip to Doha for long-awaited peace talks with the Taliban because of logistical issues at the venue of the talks in the Qatari capital.

Both sides had indicated that talks could begin soon after they finalized a months-long prisoner exchange last week.

A spokesman for Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said on September 7 that both sides were making final preparations.

Saleh has been heavily involved in preparing for those negotiations. He said last week that the Afghan government side would immediately press for a cease-fire to test whether the Taliban "are committed to peace."

Two Deaths Reported

Details are still emerging of the attack on Saleh's motorcade.

Interior Ministry spokesman Tariq Arian told RFE/RL that "at least 10 civilians" were killed and 15 others, including bodyguards, were injured.

"The blast occurred when the vice president's convoy was crossing" the scene, Arian said.

The delayed intra-Afghan negotiations should follow on a landmark deal signed between the United States and the Taliban in February.

Under the U.S.-Taliban agreement, international forces should withdraw from Afghanistan by May 2021 in exchange for counterterrorism guarantees from the Taliban, which pledged to negotiate a permanent cease-fire and power-sharing deal with the Afghan government.

With reporting by AFP and Reuters

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