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KABUL, AFGHANISTAN — A would-be suicide bomber died when his explosives-rigged vest went off prematurely in Afghanistan’s capital on Saturday morning, police said. The apparent failed attack came a day after a major Taliban assault on an international compound in Kabul left 10 people dead including the six attackers.
Another blast in the country’s east killed 12 people at a mosque during evening prayers late Friday. Authorities in Ghazni province say explosives transported by suspected Taliban fighters accidentally detonated while they were stopped at a mosque.
In Kabul, a man wearing an explosives-filled vest died when the vest went off as he left a home in the capital’s southeast, police spokesman Hashmatullah Stanekzai said. No one else was killed or wounded, but the accidental detonation may have averted another attack in the city, which has seen two deadly suicide attacks in just over a week.
On Friday afternoon, a suicide car bomber kicked off an assault targeting a guest house for aid workers with the International Organization for Migration.
Kabul police on Saturday raised the siege death toll from two to four, including a 6-year-old child, two compound guards and one policeman. All six of the attackers were killed, one in the bomb and five more in an hours-long shootout with police in the upscale neighborhood that is home to the United Nations’ office as well as the headquarters of the Afghan Public Protection Force and a hospital run by the National Directorate for Security.
Four IOM workers were wounded including an Italian woman badly burned by a grenade, the aid group said.
The siege came eight days after another suicide car bomb hit a U.S. military convoy, killing two U.S. soldiers, four American contractors and nine Afghan bystanders.
Protecting major population centers like Kabul is one of the most visible tests for Afghan security forces’ ability to keep security now that international combat forces are pulling back ahead of the 2014 withdrawal.
Most of the U.S.-led military coalition will leave by the end of next year, more than a dozen years after launching the war to topple the Taliban regime over its sheltering of al-Qaida’s leadership.
In the eastern province of Ghazni, another explosion at a local mosque killed four civilians and eight militants during Friday night prayers, local official Qasim Desewal said Saturday
He said that the Taliban had apparently stopped at the mosque in Andar district while traveling and the explosives they were carrying went off while they were inside.