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Afghanistan: Four Dead In Explosion Near Minister's Convoy

Kabul, 8 April 2002 (RFE/RL) -- At least four people were reported killed and some 18 injured when an explosive device went off today near a convoy carrying Afghanistan's interim defense minister in the eastern city of Jalalabad. Defense Minister Mohammed Fahim was not hurt in the explosion, which occurred in front of his convoy.

The victims, including at least one child, were people who had gathered on the street to greet the minister near the center of town when the device went off in a roadside kiosk. The Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press reported that a fifth person died later in hospital.

Afghan officials said the blast was an apparent attempt to assassinate Fahim. Fahim and senior military commanders were in Jalalabad to inspect military installations and persuade local farmers to accept the interim government's offer of cash for not planting opium poppies from which heroin is derived.