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Two Militants Killed in Attack on Afghan Politician’s Headquarters

Two suicide bombers disguised as burqa-clad women were killed as they tried to storm the headquarters of an Afghan political party in Kabul Friday, its veteran leader said.

“We have one person martyred and two wounded in this incident,” Gulbuddin Hekmatyar said on Barya TV, a local channel run by his Hizb-e-Islami party.

“Both of the mercenary suicide attackers were killed before they reached their target.”

Hekmatyar is regarded as a political survivor in Afghanistan, having fought against the Soviet occupation, the Taliban’s first stint in power, and the Western-backed government that ruled until August last year.

During the 1992-1996 civil war, he earned the nickname “The Butcher of Kabul” for ordering the brutal bombardment of the capital in which tens of thousands of civilians were killed.

A Sunni Pashtun initially supported by Pakistan before they turned to the Taliban, over the years he has forged alliances — and then broken them — with almost every political grouping in Afghanistan.

After the US-led invasion in 2001 and the fall of the first Taliban regime, Washington labelled him a terrorist, accusing him of collusion with Al-Qaeda.

A peace agreement allowed him to return to the country in May 2017 after almost 20 years in exile, and he ran for president two years later in elections won by Ashraf Ghani.

Unlike most Afghan politicians, he remained in the country when the Taliban stormed back to power in August last year, but remains a largely marginal figure.

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