'Hero' police officer saves many lives after 'bear hugging' suicide bomber in Kabul

Sayed Basam Pacha, 25, may have saved hundreds of people with his actions

A police officer who died after “bear hugging” a suicide bomber has been hailed as a hero after his actions saved “many lives”.

Sayed Basam Pacha, 25, died after diving onto a man wearing an explosive vest in the Afghan capital of Kabul last week.

Police said that his actions stopped the bomber from getting closer to a security checkpoint where a political meeting had just finished.

The bomber killed 14 people, including eight police officers, when he detonated his device. Eighteen people were injured.

However, authorities say the death toll would have been much if it wasn’t for the officer’s quick thinking.

“He’s a hero, he saved many lives,” Kabul police chief Basir Mujahid told the New York Times. “All seven of those policemen are heroes but especially him.

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“Just think if that suicide attacker got past the gate, what would have happened – well you cannot even imagine.”

His father, Gen Sayed Nizam Agha, said his son “sacrificed himself to save other people”.

Harun Mutaref, who was at the gathering, told AFP that he saw “many bodies including police and civilians lying in blood”.

“After lunch as we were exiting the hall a huge explosion shook the hall, shattering glass and causing chaos and panic,” he said.

Isis claimed responsibility for the attack.

At the end of October, a suicide bomber believed to be as young as 12 struck Kabul’s diplomatic quarter and killed at least five people.

A week earlier, at least 15 people died in a suicide bombing near a military academy in the latest in a string of attack, and despite security being increased.

In July, the Taliban claimed they were behind a suicide bomb that killed at least 35 in Afghanistan’s capital.