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Inquest into Kabul death resumes

An inquest is to resume today into the death of a Labour MEP candidate who was killed in a suicide bomb and gun attack in Afghanistan.

Dhamender Singh Phangurha, known as Del Singh, died in the attack on a restaurant in Kabul on January 17 which killed 21 people including senior UN officials, Afghan dignitaries and restaurant staff.

Simon Chase, a former British soldier from Limavady, Co Londonderry, was also killed.

His partner, Komal Adris, 35, said he had advised Labour leader Ed Miliband on Israeli and Palestinian policy and travelled regularly to Afghanistan.

She said: “He loved the country. He’s been going there on and off for around six years. He kept going back to all these conflict areas because he loved his work and wanted to see a more peaceful world.”

The 39-year-old from Southampton, Hampshire, had been a Labour candidate for this year’s Euro elections and Mr Miliband paid tribute to him after the incident saying: “He dedicated his life to working with people across the world who needed his support.”

Mr Singh was an international development specialist who had extensive experience managing EU and UN projects in post-conflict countries including Afghanistan, Palestine, Libya and Sierra Leone.

He started off working at food factories before he went on to gain a business degree and masters in European studies.

He gained experience as a European policy adviser before gaining a position as an adviser for the European Mission in Kosovo where he helped develop the first economic national plan for the country.

Mr Singh then went on to manage a European Commission aid development programme in Sudan and worked on other projects in Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Libya, Nepal, and Palestine.

He also supported local homeless and job-seekers charities and acted as an independent election observer in Macedonia.

A tribute on his website says: “Del Singh, a loving son and brother, a true friend and dedicated humanitarian who brought happiness to so many of us in his short life.

“Del spent his life campaigning for social justice and trying to make the world a better place and for all of those fortunate to have met him, I’m sure you’ll agree “he was sunshine most always…I mean he made it seem like good weather” (Mark Twain, the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn).”

The blast occurred at the Taverna du Liban restaurant, which is popular with tourists and westerners. The suicide attacker detonated his explosives outside the gate of the heavily fortified restaurant.

Two gunmen entered the restaurant and started shooting at people inside. It is believed they were eventually shot dead by security forces when they arrived at the scene.

The inquest will be heard by Central Hampshire coroner Grahame Short at Winchester.

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