UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY) – A suicide bomber on a motorcycle killed 14 people near a gathering of Muslim clerics in the Afghan capital Kabul on Monday after issuing a fatwa forbidding suicide attacks in the latest attack in a series of violence, officials said.
A witness said the bomb exploded at the entrance to a large marquee near residential buildings in western Kabul after most clerics left the mosque and screamed at women.
A senior government official said the explosion killed seven clerics, four security personnel and three unknown.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, which highlights the deteriorating security situation ahead of parliamentary and municipal elections scheduled for October 20.
The Taliban have denied responsibility for the attack. The Taliban are fighting to impose their strict interpretation of Islamic law after they were ousted from power in 2001 by US-backed forces.
More than 2,000 religious scholars from across the country began a meeting on Sunday at the Loya Jirga (Supreme Council of Tribes) to denounce the years-old conflict. They issued a fatwa forbidding suicide attacks demanding Taliban militants restore peace, allowing foreign troops to leave the country.
A series of bombings in Kabul have killed dozens in recent months and showed no signs that the attacks subsided during Ramadan.
Gunmen and grenade launchers stormed the fortified Interior Ministry headquarters on Wednesday and clashed with security forces for more than two hours.
In April, two bombings in Kabul killed at least 26 people, including nine journalists, who arrived to cover the first blast and were targeted by a suicide bomber.
A week earlier, 60 people were killed and more than 100 wounded when a suicide bomber blew himself up in front of the city’s voter registration center.
The militant Islamic state has claimed responsibility for many attacks in Kabul, but security officials say the Haqqani network is likely to be responsible for many of the attacks. The Haqqani network is linked to the Taliban.
The Taliban have also carried out attacks in the provinces as fighting has intensified across the country since the start of the annual spring offensive in April.