Vice President, Prime Minister condemn Kabul blasts

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New Delhi, Feb 26(ANI): Vice President Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on Friday strongly condemned the suicide bombings carried out by Taliban militants in Kabul, which killed at least 17 people, including many Indian citizens.

In a statement, Vice President Ansari expressed his deepest condolences to the families of the Indian citizens killed and injured in the attack, and said that the entire nation mourns their death and values their services and contribution to the nation.

He reaffirmed the national resolve to continue the fight against terrorism, which he characterized as "a scourge afflicting humanity".

Meanwhile, condemning the bomb blasts Dr. Singh said: "I am deeply saddened and grieved at the loss of lives of Indian nationals in the bomb attack in Kabul, which has also claimed the lives of several innocent Afghan civilians."

"I condemn in the strongest possible terms this senseless act of violence and barbarism which strikes at the core of everything a civilized society holds dear. The Indians who have lost their lives were on a mission of goodwill and friendship, helping to construct the peaceful, democratic Afghanistan that our Afghan friends desire."

"I convey my heartfelt condolences to their families and near and dear ones, and assure them that we stand with them in this hour of grief, and will render all possible support to them," he added.

At least 10 Indians have been reportedly killed in the suicide bombings.

Afghanistan officials said that at least 17 people have died in the series of explosions and gunfire at a kebab shop near a nine-story shopping complex which houses the Safi Landmark Hotel, in which several Indian citizens were staying.

Two policemen are also reported to be among the dead.

According to reports, a suicide bomber detonated explosives near the guesthouse, and the explosions were followed by several smaller blasts.

Police said that a suicide bomber blew himself up, while two other attackers were shot dead.

A spokesman for the Taliban claimed responsibility for the attacks.

The violence comes as NATO and the Afghan forces continue Operation Moshtarak to tackle the Taliban in Helmand province.

An eyewitness said he saw the suicide bomber blowing himself up on the first floor of the hotel while he was running out from the premises after hearing the first explosion near the kebab shop.

"I saw foreigners were crying and shouting. It was a very bad situation inside. God helped me, otherwise I would be dead. I saw one suicide bomber blowing himself up on the first floor of the hotel," Sky News quoted Najibullah, a worker at the hotel, as saying.

Witnesses said they heard at least two smaller explosions and said they saw gunmen enter the building.

The four-star hotel is about 15 minutes by road from Kabul International Airport, and is close to most government offices. (ANI)

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