Afghan pilgrims kill transport minister
DUBAI (Reuters) – Afghan Muslim pilgrims, angry over plane delays, have attacked and killed Afghanistan’s interim transport minister at Kabul airport, Arabic-language al-Jazeera television has reported.
It quoted its reporter in the Afghan capital as saying Air Transport and Tourism Minister Abdul Rahman had gone to the airport to leave on a trip abroad when he was attacked on Thursday by a large number of disgruntled pilgrims awaiting flights to Saudi Arabia.
There was no immediate confirmation of the report by Afghan officials. Foreign journalists were unable to go to the airport to check on reports of a disturbance there because of a curfew.
More than 5,000 Afghans planning to leave for the annual haj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia have been told that foreign aircraft are being leased for the trip as Afghanistan’s Ariana airline has only one functioning plane, Afghan-based reporters said.
Saudi officials have said pilgrims coming from abroad must arrive by Sunday to be able to perform haj, one of Islam’s five pillars.