A prominent female Afghan lawmaker survived an apparent assassination attempt in Kabul on Sunday, but the bomb blast targeting her car killed at least three people and wounded 22 others, officials said.
The attack targeting Shukria Barakzai, a member of parliament from Kabul and an outspoken critic of Taliban insurgents, occurred late in the morning along a heavily trafficked road in the western part of the capital.
Sediq Sediqqi, spokesman for the Afghan Interior Ministry, said that a suicide bomber tried to ram his vehicle into Barakzai's armored car before detonating his explosives. Barakzai suffered “small injuries,” Sediqqi said. He also dispelled reports that the lawmaker’s daughter, who often travels with her, was among the victims.
“Reports of her family killed in this attack are not true,” Sediqqi tweeted.
No group immediately claimed responsibility, and Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid denied that his organization had carried out the bombing. Earlier this month, the group claimed responsibility for the shooting death of Abdul Qadim Patyal, the 32-year-old deputy governor of Afghanistan's Kandahar province.
President Ashraf Ghani condemned the blast as a terrorist attack and called for an investigation. Barakzai had been an active supporter of Ghani’s presidential campaign earlier this year.
Women make up about one-quarter of the Afghan parliament, although they remain deeply underrepresented at the highest levels of government.
The explosion, along busy Darulaman Road, occurred in the vicinity of a high school and several private universities. Afghan news media reported that students were among the injured.
Ahmad Shuja, Afghanistan researcher for Human Rights Watch, said that attacking an area where civilians are likely to be harmed is a war crime.
The attack came a day after Ghani returned from his first state visit to Pakistan, where aides said he was trying to repair relations in a bid to jump-start peace talks with the Taliban. Afghanistan has long accused Pakistan of harboring the Afghan insurgents, but since Ghani's inauguration two months ago, he has expressed a desire for the two countries to work more closely together.
Latifi is a special correspondent.