Prominent Afghan political leader escapes 4th assassination attempt
Ustad Mohammad Mohaqiq is an Afghan Member of Parliament, the leader of Hezb-e-Wahdat Islami Mardom-e-Afghanistan, and a member of the Jabh-e Melli (Afghan National Front) political opposition party formed in 2011.
A roadside bomb detonated in Kabul City today as the convoy of prominent Afghan politician and ethnic Hazara leader Ustad Mohammad Mohaqiq passed by. The blast, which destroyed several storefronts, killed three people and injured 30 others, including six of Mohaqiq's security guards. The explosion occurred while Mohaqiq's convoy was driving through the Pul-i-Surkh area in Kabul's western outskirts.
More details provided by ToloNews:
Sources have confirmed to TOLOnews that Mr Mohaqeq has survived the attack but his six bodyguards were injured in the explosion. The 24 other injured are all civilians.
The blast occurred at around 9 am in the Pol-e Sorkh area of Kabul city, near Afghanistan's Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) building. The area is also a home for several international non-governmental organisations.
Hours after the explosion, Afghan MP, Haji Mohammad Mohaqeq warned that the Taliban and Al Qaida network still try to launch attacks on the political figures of Afghanistan.
"Taliban and Al Qaida don't know peace and stability, their language is terrorism and they want to harm Afghanistan's leaders. I was in their hit-list and still I am, so this incident has happened," Haji Mohammad Mohaqeq said.
Meanwhile, TOLOnews reporter, Farhad Safi was also injured in the explosion.
No group including the Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack so far.
Mohaqiq informed Pajhwok Afghan News that he did not know "how he survived" the attack, noting "it was a huge blast."
Today's bombing is the fourth attempt against Mohaqiq's life since June 2012. On March 7, a series of roadside bombs intended to destroy Mohaqiq's convoy in Herat province were prematurely detonated. [See Threat Matrix, Prominent Afghan political leader escapes another assassination attempt.]
On June 7, 2012, unknown gunmen launched a fierce ambush against the Hezb-e Wahdat office in Afghanistan's central Bamyan province. Mohaqiq was in the office at the time, but escaped uninjured, according to Pajhwok Afghan News and Wahdat News.
Within 24 hours of the June 7 attack, Mohaqiq's convoy was ambushed as it traveled from Bamyan to Kabul; at least one of Mohaqiq's drivers was injured. In late June, an unknown assailant broke into the Wahdat News Agency in Kabul, which is owned by Mohaqiq, and viciously assaulted Wahdat News Agency operation manager Mohammad Hussain Hakimi.
The latest attempt to assassinate Mohaqiq, a key opposition leader and one of the most powerful leaders of the ethnic Hazara minority in Afghanistan, signifies how volatile and complex Afghanistan's political landscape remains. Earlier today, reports surfaced alleging that Uzbek minority leader General Abdul Rashid Dostum, who heads the National Islamic Movement Party of Afghanistan ( Junbish-e Milli-yi Islami-yi Afghanistan), has begun rearming his constituents in the northern province of Jawzjan.
Despite years of slow progress in stabilizing Afghanistan's political system, recent developments such as these -- as well as the Afghan government's assumption of security responsibility for the entire country, and today's announcement of the opening of the Taliban's political office in Qatar -- indicate that Afghanistan remains perched on a delicate precipice of marginal stability, above a looming chasm of all-out civil conflict.