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Haqqani Network Chief Denies Taliban Role In Kabul, Herat Bombings

A May 31 truck bombing in Kabul killed more than 150 people.

The Afghan Taliban's second-in-command and head of the Pakistan-based Haqqani network has denied any involvement in recent deadly attacks in Kabul and Herat.

Sirajuddin Haqqani issued the denial in an audio message distributed to the media late on June 11 by a Taliban spokesman.

A May 31 truck bombing in Kabul killed more than 150 people.

The attack, the deadliest in the Afghan capital since the ouster of the Taliban following the U.S.-led invasion in 2001, has sparked calls for the resignation of Afghanistan’s national unity government.

On June 2, at least five people were killed in deadly clashes between police and antigovernment protesters. At least seven other people died on June 3 after three suicide bombers detonated their explosives at the funeral of one of the demonstrators. And in the western city of Herat on June 6, at least seven people were killed in a bombing near a mosque.

No group has claimed responsibility for the bombings, but Afghan officials blamed the Haqqani network for the massive Kabul blast.

In his audio message, Haqqani condemned the three attacks but also warned that the group will continue to wage war until foreign forces have withdrawn from Afghanistan.

Also on June 11, the Afghan presidential palace confirmed that two top security officials -- Kabul Police Chief General Shah Hassan Frogh and Kabul Garrison Commander General Gul Nabi Ahmadzai -- were suspended in the wake of the violence in the capital.

Based on reporting by AP, Khaama Press, and Pajhwok