Taliban rejects involvement in the attack on religious scholars in Kabul

Taliban rejects involvement in the attack on religious scholars in Kabul

Both attacks were claimed by the Islamic State.

In April, two explosions in Kabul killed at least 26 people, including nine journalists who had arrived to report on an initial blast and were targeted by a suicide bomber.

"People were wounded, people were shouting", a witness told Reuters.

The Afghan Ulema Council represents the country's most respected and influential Muslim clerics.

Aziz added that had the attacker penetrated deeper, the casualty numbers could have been significantly higher.

Last week, gunmen stormed the headquarters of the Interior Ministry, battling security forces for several hours.

"The suicide attack happened outside the (Loya Jirga) tent when religious scholars were leaving the gathering", Kabul Police spokesman Hashmat Stanikzai said.

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Earlier on Monday, the council had issued an Islamic ruling, or "fatwa", against suicide attacks, branding them "haram", or forbidden, by Islam.

The council appealed on both the Afghan government forces and the Taliban and other militants to halt the fighting and agree on a cease-fire. The elders also urged peace negotiations between the warring sides, the first time they have done so.

Almost half all children in Afghanistan are out of school due to conflict, poverty, child marriage and discrimination against girls, the number rising for the first time since 2002, humanitarian organizations said in a report on Sunday. "It is illegal according to Islamic laws and it does nothing but shed the blood of Muslims".

"We the religious scholars call on the Taliban to give a positive response to the Afghan government's peace offer in order to prevent further bloodshed", the religious scholars said.

"Suicide attacks, explosions for killing people, division, insurgency, different types of corruption, robbery, kidnapping and any type of violence are counted as big sins in Islam and are against the order of the Almighty Allah", they said.

Elsewhere in Kabul, three civilians, including a woman, were wounded when a sticky bomb attached to their auto went off in the Koti Sangi area on Monday, said Hashmat Stanezai, spokesman for the Kabul police chief.

The blast in the western part of the city, near universities and a police academy, is the latest demonstration of the militants' chilling ability to carry out attacks in the heart of Kabul, which is now the deadliest place in the country for civilians.

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