Kabul accidental blast triggers alarm

December 13, 2013 - 9:35:18 am

KABUL: An accidental explosion in an arms depot shook central Kabul yesterday, with Afghan officials moving quickly to allay fears of an attack on the city that has often been targeted by militants.

The loud blast erupted close to the Nato’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) headquarters and in an area of the capital that houses many embassies and international institutions.

ISAF confirmed that the explosion occurred outside their headquarters, while the US embassy sounded its emergency “duck and cover” sirens to warn employees to seek shelter. “It was an accident, not an enemy act,” Lutfullah Mashal, an official from the National Directorate of Security (NDS) intelligence agency, said.

“The blast happened in a depot for unexploded ordinance. It was totally an accident. There is no reported casualties, but there are some damages.”

The NDS said in a statement said that the depot contained explosives recently seized from insurgents and due to be taken to the Disbandment of Illegal Armed Group (DIAG) programme, which destroys illegal weapons and explosives.

An NDS spokesman told local television that the depot stored suicide vests, explosives and unexploded bombs. The interior ministry also confirmed the explosion was an accident.

The blast came a day after a Taliban suicide bomber detonated an explosives-laden vehicle near a Nato military convoy entering Kabul airport, killing himself but causing no other deaths or injuries. The airport houses another Nato base as well as operating civilian flights to cities including Dubai, New Delhi and Istanbul. Flights were delayed only briefly after the bomb exploded.

The Taliban, who regularly exaggerate casualty numbers, claimed responsibility via their main Twitter account for that attack, saying ten soldiers had been killed or injured.

Kabul has seen a recent drop in insurgent attacks after a series of high-profile strikes earlier this year, with the National Directorate of Security claiming to have foiled several plots to launch complex strikes involving truck bombs and suicide gunmen.

AFP

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