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Friday, 12 November, 1999, 17:02 GMT
Bomb attack on Taleban official
car bomb damage
At least four people were injured in the blast
By Kabul correspondent Kate Clarke

Afghanistan's ruling Taleban have launched an investigation into a car bomb which exploded outside one of the busiest mosques in the capital, Kabul, at the end of Friday prayers.

The device had been planted under a land cruiser belonging to one of the most senior members of the Taleban movement, Amir Khan Muttaqi.

taleban car after bomb attack
The driver of the land cruiser was seriously injured
Mr Muttaqi, The Taleban's former information spokesman and now head of administrative affairs, was not hurt. But his driver was critically injured and has lost a leg.

Another man and three children were also seriously injured after getting caught in the blast.

The bomb went off minutes before the end of Friday prayers at about 1400 local time (0930 GMT). It had been planted just outside the Wazir Akbar Khan mosque which is popular with the Taleban.

The authorities said it was fortunate that more people had not been harmed.

They said that prayers had started later than usual; otherwise large numbers of people would have been leaving the mosque when the bomb detonated.

Plea to find culprits

The Taleban authorities have said the bomb could not have been aimed at Mr Muttaqi personally as he had no enemies.

Instead, they are blaming the blast on individuals who want to portray Kabul as an insecure city.

The authorities said they were investigating the bomb, but stressed there would be no unnecessary harassment of people in the search for the perpetrators.

The Taleban have called on the rest of the world to help them find the culprits and bring them to justice.

Bombings in Afghanistan are comparatively rare events.

But earlier this year, a truck packed with explosives was detonated outside the home of the Taleban Supreme Leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar, in the southern city of Kandahar.

It is still not clear who was behind that attack.

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See also:

07 Sep 99 | South Asia
Taleban arrests over bomb attack
27 Aug 99 | South Asia
'Advanced' bomb targeted Taleban leader
09 Nov 99 | South Asia
Taleban warn US of God's wrath
09 Jul 99 | South Asia
Taleban 'guarding' bin Laden
03 Aug 98 | South Asia
Analysis: Who are the Taleban?
10 Jul 99 | South Asia
Taleban 'will not extradite' bin Laden
03 Nov 99 | South Asia
Taleban slam 'cruel' threats
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