Gunmen Open Fire on Kabul Hotel Hosting Jamiat-e-Islami Summit, Eyewitness Says

Gunmen opened fire on a hotel in the Afghan capital of Kabul, which hosted a summit of the Jamiat-e-Islami Muslim political party, an eyewitness told Sputnik on Thursday.

Some videos, posted on social media, suggested that gunfire could be heard near the gathering.

The hotel is located on Kabul Airport Road. Six people were injured in a clash that erupted after gunmen opened fire, a source close to the police told Sputnik.

Jamiat-E-Islami (“Islamic Society”), founded in 1972, is one of the oldest and most influential political parties in the country. At the moment, it holds 62 of the 249 seats in the Afghan parliament.

A series of incidents hit Afghanistan on Thursday, with a helicopter crash killing 9 special forces troops in Maidan Wardak, while an explosion in Jalalabad injured at least two people.

The crash happened on Wednesday night in a volatile district in Wardak province, where Afghan forces and local militias have bitterly fought.

“As a result of the incident, four crew members and five security forces were killed. The ministry of defense is investigating the cause of the crash,” the MoD said in a statement.

Mohibullah Sharifi, the spokesman for the Wardak provincial governor, confirmed the helicopter crash, but did not provide further details. Helicopter crashes are common in Afghanistan either due to technical problems or militant attacks.

An explosion was reported in the Angoor Bagh area of Jalalabad’s Police District 5 (PD 5) the afternoon of Dec. 6. The blast was reportedly triggered by a bomb attached to a vehicle. At least two people were injured; casualty figures increase in the coming hours. No group has claimed responsibility for the explosion.

Heightened security and localized transport disruptions are likely in the impact area in the coming hours as investigations continue. Business disruptions are possible if further security incidents occur.

In the Afghan capital, four people were killed and nine others were wounded in a blast targeting a bus in east Kabul on Thursday, police said. The bombing comes on the day the Afghan government, Taliban and key countries – including the United States and Russia – gather in Moscow to push for a reduction in violence to propel the Afghan peace process forward.

A spokesperson for the Kabul police confirmed the casualty figures but gave no further details. Another official said the vehicle was carrying Afghan government employees.

The blast hit a bus which was rented by the Afghan ministry of information and technology to transport employees, said Abdul Samad Hamid Poya, a ministry adviser. He added that it was unclear at the moment who the victims are.

No one claimed immediate responsibility for the blast, but the Afghan government has blamed the Taliban for running an assassination campaign against government employees, civil society figures and journalists. The insurgent Taliban has denied being involved in the campaign.

Again on March 13, at least eight people died and 47 others were injured after a powerful car bomb went off in Afghanistan’s western Herat province.