Deaths and destruction in Kabul airport blast, as notorious Uzbek leader returns to Afghanistan

Deaths and destruction in Kabul airport blast, as notorious Uzbek leader returns to Afghanistan
A blast near Kabul's airport left ten dead or wounded as Uzbek leader and Afghani Vice President Dostum returned after more than a year in exile.
2 min read
22 July, 2018
The blast was caused by a suicide attacker [Getty]

At least eleven people have been killed and more injured in a blast near Kabul's international airport on Sunday, shortly after the return of controversial Vice-President Abdul Rashid Dostum who fled the country after being linked to the rape and torture of a political opponent.

Kabul Police spokesman Hashmat Stanikzai said 11 people had been killed and 14 wounded. He did not give a breakdown, according to AFP.

Among the casualties were a child and security force members.

The explosion, caused by a suicide attacker, happened just as Dostum was leaving with a large crowd of government officials and supporters.

According to spokesperson Bashir Ahmad Tayanj, Dostum was travelling in an armoured vehicle and was unharmed. 

Dostum, a powerful ethnic Uzbek leader and former warlord, returned to Afghanistan after more than a year in exile. 

His return comes at a time of renewed violence in Afghanistan, particularly in the north of the country, his traditional power base.

Intense protests have been held by Dostum's supporters in recent weeks, shuttering election and government offices and blocking roads demanding his return.

Protesters have vowed to continue these protests until the Uzbek minority leader tells them otherwise.

Dostum is one of several controversial figures that Kabul has sought to reintegrate into mainstream politics since the US-led invasion in 2001.

He allegedly allowed hundreds of Taliban prisoners to be suffocated to death in shipping containers following the US-led overthrow of the Taliban regime in 2001.