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‘Stay calm’, says Afghan leader amid attack, next bomb strikes his political gathering


An explosion rattled a large ceremony in western Kabul on Thursday, with the event abruptly cancelled and sending attendees fleeing — including chief executive Abdullah Abdullah and other leading government officials.

“Stay calm, the area of the blast is far from us,” said former lower house speaker Mohammad Younus Qanooni during a live broadcast of the event.

But moments after the announcement, another explosion could be heard that sent people running for the exit.

The explosion happened during a ceremony marking the 24th anniversary of the death of Shiite Hazara leader Abdul Ali Mazari that was attended by many of the country’s political elite, including Abdullah and former President Hamid Karzai.

The incident comes as US and Taliban negotiations continue to hold peace talks in Qatar aimed at ending the nearly 18-year conflict.

The last major attack in Kabul occurred in January when the Taliban-claimed responsibility for a car bomb that struck the heavily fortified Green Village foreign compound.

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