Asia-Pacific

Death toll in Kabul bombing climbs to 23

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At least 23 people have been killed and more than 100 wounded in a suicide bombing at the main entrance to the airport in Afghanistan's capital Kabul.

The death toll in an Islamic State suicide bombing at the entrance of the main airport in Afghanistan's capital Kabul has climbed to at least 23, an official says.

At least 107 others were injured as a suicide bomber struck minutes after the convoy of Afghan Vice President General Abdul Rasheed Dostum, who had returned from exile on Sunday, had passed the area, an official from the Public Health Ministry, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.

Among the dead were a driver for Agence France-Presse (AFP), Mohammad Akhtar, who had been working for the agency for the past 11 years, AFP confirmed.

His death comes less than three months after Shah Marai, chief AFP photographer, was killed in another Islamic State attack on April 30.

The explosion hit as Dostum's supporters gathered to greet him upon his arrival after spending 14 months in Turkey. He was not harmed in the attack, having passed through the area about 15 minutes before.

Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish had said on Sunday that the suicide bomber was identified by police but that he detonated his explosive vest before he could be safely apprehended.

Islamic State militants claimed responsibility for the attack through a Telegram channel affiliated with the group.

Dostum, an ethnic Uzbek leader, left Afghanistan in May 2017 before court proceedings started against him for the alleged kidnapping and torture of a political opponent.

He was welcomed at the airport by second Vice President Mohammad Sarwar Danish, the powerful former governor of northern Balkh province Atta Mohammad Noor, and ethnic Hazara leader Mohammad Mohaqeq, among others.

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