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Afghan police: 9 die in Kabul supermarket blast

 Employees run through a burning supermarket , Friday, Jan. 28, 2011 in central Kabul, Afghanistan. An explosion has rocked a grocery store frequented...
 An injured woman is escorted out of a supermarket Friday, Jan. 28, 2011 in central Kabul, Afghanistan. An explosion has rocked a grocery store freque...
 An injured woman is carried out of a supermarket Friday, Jan. 28, 2011 in central Kabul, Afghanistan. An explosion has rocked a grocery store frequen...
 CORRECTS SPELLING IN OBJECT NAME  - An injured woman is escorted out of a supermarket  Friday, Jan. 28, 2011 in central Kabul, Afghanistan. An explos...
 A man runs through a burning supermarket Friday, Jan. 28, 2011 in central Kabul, Afghanistan. An explosion has rocked a grocery store frequented by f...

APTOPIX Afghanistan Explosion

Employees run through a burning supermarket , Friday, Jan. 28, 2011 in central Kabul, Afghanistan. An explosion has rocked a grocery store frequented...

Afghanistan Eplosion

An injured woman is escorted out of a supermarket Friday, Jan. 28, 2011 in central Kabul, Afghanistan. An explosion has rocked a grocery store freque...

Afghanistan Explosion

An injured woman is carried out of a supermarket Friday, Jan. 28, 2011 in central Kabul, Afghanistan. An explosion has rocked a grocery store frequen...

CORRECTION CORRECTS SPELLING IN OBJECT NAME APTOPIX Afghanistan Explosion

CORRECTS SPELLING IN OBJECT NAME - An injured woman is escorted out of a supermarket Friday, Jan. 28, 2011 in central Kabul, Afghanistan. An explos...

Afghanistan Explosion

A man runs through a burning supermarket Friday, Jan. 28, 2011 in central Kabul, Afghanistan. An explosion has rocked a grocery store frequented by f...

A suicide bomber blew himself up inside a Western-style grocery store on Friday in Kabul, killing at least nine people in what was the deadliest attack in the capital against a location frequented by foreigners in just over a year.
Three foreign women and one child, whose nationality was not known, were among the dead, Kabul Police Chief Mohammad Ayub Salangi told reporters at the scene. Six others were wounded, including two who suffered critical injuries, he said.
The Taliban claimed responsibility, saying the attack was against a U.S.-based security contractor.
"It was one suicide attacker," said Sayed Bashir, a member of the Ministry of Interior's criminal investigation team. "We found the two legs of the suicide bomber."
Attacks in the Afghan capital have fallen off in recent months and the explosion in the Wazir Akbar Khan district, considered one of the safest in the city, alarmed diplomats and other members of the international community. The heavily guarded district is home to many foreigners and wealthy Afghans _ many who shop at the pricey store.
Ahmad Zaki, another member of the criminal investigation unit, said the suicide bomber threw at least one grenade and fired shots, prompting customers to run to another area of the store. "Then he blew himself up," Zaki said.
The explosion ignited a small fire in the frozen food section. Black, acrid smoke filled the main floor of the two-story store. Mounds of canned goods, boxes of cereal and other merchandise were strewn across the floor, making it difficult for police officers and rescuers to walk around. More than an hour after the 2:30 p.m. blast, a charred smell still permeated the store.
"I was inside the store," Mary Hayden, a Western consultant, said recounting the attack. "To my left, I heard a gunshot. A bomb went off. Everyone was running to the back of the building."
Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned the attack and said the "enemies of Afghanistan are so desperate that they are now killing civilians, including women, inside a food market." He said attacks against women "are not part of Afghan culture or Islam. This is an attack against Islam."
In a text message sent to reporters, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid wrote: "It was an attack on the chief of Blackwater."
Blackwater Worldwide, based in North Carolina, is now called Xe Services.
The store was full of foreign customers, according to Moujib, a 14-year-old Afghan boy who uses just one name.
"I was on the first floor and we heard a boom," he said, crying and clinging to his mother. "I might have heard some shooting. Then I saw fire everywhere."
Another eyewitness, Mohammad Parwais, said he also heard gunfire.
"We were waiting for a car and we heard some shooting inside the supermarket and then the explosion," Parwais said.
More than 100 policemen responded to the scene where people were using hoses to clear glass and blood stains from the pavement.
The bodies, some wrapped in posters that had been displayed inside the store, were taken away in ambulances and the back of pickup trucks. One woman killed in the blast was partially covered in a towel, but her mangled legs and black, high-heeled boots were visible.
Yama, an Afghan man who sells phone cards at a traffic circle just outside the store, said he heard gunfire and hit the ground. He and other sellers then rushed inside to help injured and dazed customers from the store.
"They were looking around like they didn't know what had happened," he said. "Their eyes were wide open."
In Dec. 2009, a suicide car bomber struck near the home of a former Afghan vice president and a hotel frequented by Westerners, killing at least eight people and wounding nearly 40. The attack occurred in the same neighborhood as Friday's grocery store attack.
A month earlier, Taliban militants wearing police uniforms had stormed a residential hotel packed with foreigners killing 11, including five United Nations workers and three attackers.
The Wazir Akbar Khan district is located inside the so-called "ring-of-steel," a heavily policed area that was set up to deter such attacks. In recent weeks the government has started taking down some of the fortifications in the district, including blast walls and dirt filled barriers protecting places frequented by foreigners or erected around homes.
The last attack in Kabul occurred on Jan. 12 when a suicide bomber on a motorbike targeted a minibus carrying Afghan intelligence service employees, killing at least two and wounding more than 30.
In May 2009, a Taliban suicide bomber attacked a NATO convoy, killing 18 people including six NATO service members _ five Americans and a Canadian.
The deadliest attack in recent years took place in July 2008 when a suicide car bomb blew up outisde the gates of the Indian Embassy, killing more than 60 people.


Updated : 2020-12-02 12:42 GMT+08:00