At least seven people were killed Monday when a suicide bomber detonated near a gathering of top clerics in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul, shortly after the group called such attacks a sin, police said.
“Our initial information shows that the suicide attack took place when guests were exiting the tent” where the meeting was being held at around 11.30 am (0700 GMT), police spokesman Hashmat Stanikzai told local broadcaster Tolo News.
“According to our initial information, seven people have been killed including a policeman. Nine others have been injured, including two policemen.”
Interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish said at least 12 people had been killed and wounded, but did not give a breakdown.
The attacker detonated outside the tent, known as the Loya Jirga tent, or “grand council” in Pashto, where gatherings of top clerics and government officials are often held, Stanikzai said.
A security source confirmed it had been a suicide attack.
No group has yet claimed the attack, but both the Taliban and ISIL Takfiri groups are stepping up their headline-grabbing assaults on the Afghan capital.
The Taliban recently issued a warning for civilians to “keep away” from military and intelligence centers in Kabul as they were planning more attacks.
Local media said that some 3,000 clerics had gathered at the tent for the meeting of the Ulema Council, Afghanistan’s top religious leaders.
Earlier they issued a fatwa against the ongoing conflict in the country, terming suicide attacks a sin against Islam. They have issued such fatwas in the past.
“The ongoing war in Afghanistan does not have a legal basis, only Afghans are the victims of this war… (it) does not have religious, national or human value,” they said, according to government officials.
Roads around the tent were quickly blocked by security officials after the blast, with heavy traffic jams building in the city.