Suicide Bomber at Kabul French Cultural Center Kills at Least 1

One foreigner was killed and at least 20 people were wounded when a suicide bomber blew himself up during a play at a French cultural center in Kabul today.

The perpetrator was 15 or 16 and had hidden the explosives under his clothes or possibly in his underwear, Kabul Police Chief Abdul Rahman Rahimi told reporters near the scene. The audience was mostly Afghan, although there were some foreigners present, he said. The cultural center is located within a French-run high school. No group immediately took responsibility.

The incident happened several hours after a suicide bomber on foot targeted a vehicle carrying Afghan soldiers in the capital, killing six and wounding several others including civilians. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed claimed responsibility for that attack, according to an e-mail from the group.

Militant violence has tended to target Afghan and NATO troops, although this has changed somewhat as the withdrawal of most NATO forces from the nation approaches at the end of this month. A bomber from the so-called Haqqani network killed at least 57 Afghan civilians watching a volleyball game in Paktika province on Nov. 23.

At the French cultural center, the wounded lay down on the floors, chairs were broken and parts of the hall were covered with blood. People including the wounded rushed to the exits after the explosion. Security forces immediately came and cordoned off the area.

“A big explosion shocked me when I was walking nearby the school,” said Najibullah Ahmadi, an eyewitness. “A few minutes later, I heard people with blood screaming and saw them rushing to the exit.”

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