Afghan Clerics Issue Joint Fatwa, Call Ongoing War 'Illegal'

An Afghan police officer keeps watch at the site of a blast in Kabul Afghanistan

The Taliban are seeking to return the country to strict Islamic rule after their 2001 ouster by US-backed troops.

Roughly an hour before the attack, they issued a fatwa against the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan, where the Taliban have been fighting an insurgency against government forces for almost 17 years, while other militant groups have also been carrying out attacks.

No group has yet claimed the attack, but both the Taliban and the Islamic State group are stepping up their headline-grabbing assaults on the heavily fortified capital, making it the most deadly place in the country for civilians.

Kabul has been the target of multiple suicide attacks so far this year. The blast occurred at an exit from Kabul Polytechnic University, where the convocation of the Afghan Ulema Council was winding up.

A suicide bomber has killed at least seven people and injured around 20 more in Kabul, targeting a gathering of religious leaders who had just issued a decree denouncing terrorism.

Approximately 2,000 members of the council had accentuated for the meeting of the Loya Jirga at a traditional tent.

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However, another security official says at least 14 people were killed and 17 others were wounded in the attack.

In addition to their condemnation of suicide bombs, the Council also called for peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

Earlier on Monday, the clerics issued a fatwa or religious order saying the ongoing war in Afghanistan was "illegitimate and has no root in the Sharia law".

"A suicide bomber detonated the explosives he was carrying on a road leading to the site of the gathering... and according to initial reports and information seven people have been killed", Kabul police spokesman Hashmat Stanekzai said in a statement.

The myriad attacks in the last 12 months included two of the deadliest in the city since the United States invasion: a truck bomb on May 31, 2017 that killed more than 150 people, and an ambulance bomb on January 27 this year which killed more than 100.

"Suicide attacks, explosions for killing people, division, insurgency, different types of corruption, robbery, kidnapping and any type of violence are counted as big sins in Islam and are against the order of the Almighty Allah", the Afghan clerics said. The militant group regularly makes claims for violent attacks without providing proof it was involved.

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