Kabul suicide attack slays prominent Afghan family
KABUL (Reuters) - A prominent Afghan doctor, his rights activist wife and four of their children were all killed in Friday's suicide attack on a Kabul supermarket, President Hamid Karzai said Saturday.
Hameeda Barmaki, a professor at Kabul University and child rights activist at the country's Independent Human Rights Commission, was shopping with her husband and children when the blast ripped through the three-storey shop in downtown Kabul.
"The martyrdom of this intellectual family who were committed to serving their nation is a loss," Karzai said in statement Saturday, offering condolences on the deaths.
Doctor Masood Yama's mother is senator Mahbuba Hoqoqmal, a former minister of women's affairs under Karzai.
The shop is frequented by foreigners, located at the heart of an embassy district, just a few hundred metres from the British, Canadian, Japanese and several other missions.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the suicide attack, saying they were targeting the head of a foreign security company. But the city police chief's office said Saturday that while there were foreigners among the wounded, only Afghans died.
It was the first major Taliban suicide bombing targeting foreign civilians in the capital for nearly a year, since two suicide bombers detonated explosives near the city's biggest shopping center last February, killing at least 14.
But while insurgents normally target foreign and Afghan troops, ordinary Afghans have borne the brunt as they get caught up in the crossfire. More than 2,400 civilians were killed in first ten months of last year, according to U.N. figures.
Violence across the country is at its worst level since the hardline Islamist Taliban were overthrown by U.S.-led Afghan forces in late 2001 and dozens of civilians have been killed in violence across the country so far this month alone.