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Afghan Governor, U.A.E. Ambassador Injured In Guesthouse Blast 

  • RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan

Kandahar Governer Hamyoon Azizi was hosting a dinner attended by the U.A.E. ambassador to Afghanistan (file photo)

Afghan officials say at least five people were killed and nine others, including the provincial governor and the Emirati ambassador, were injured in a blast at a government guesthouse in the southern province of Kandahar late on January 10.

Local government spokesman Samim Khpalwak said the blast hit the compound in the provincial capital, Kandahar, where Governor Hamayoon Azizi was hosting a dinner attended by the ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to Kabul, several Afghan officials, and Emirati diplomats.

The spokesman said the governor and the ambassador were injured in the blast. He said the attack occurred at 7 p.m. local time.

Khpalwak, who was also present at the gathering, told RFE/RL that explosive devices were apparently hidden in sofas.

The U.A.E. Foreign Ministry confirmed the incident, saying in a statement that the Emirati ambassador and several other diplomats were wounded in "the heinous terrorist attack on the guesthouse."

The ministry identified the wounded ambassador as Juma Mohammed Abdullah al-Kaabi. It didn't say how many U.A.E. diplomats were wounded.

Earlier in the day, the U.A.E. embassy in Kabul tweeted photos of the ambassador holding a meeting with Afghan officials and attending a ceremony to lay the foundation of an orphanage in Kandahar.

U.A.E. combat troops were deployed to Afghanistan after the 2001 U.S.-led invasion that toppled the Taliban administration.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which came just hours after deadly twin blasts near the parliament headquarters in the capital, Kabul.

Dozens were killed and wounded in that attack, which was claimed by the Taliban.

With reporting by tolonews.com and AP
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