Six killed in suicide attack near Afghan foreign ministry

At least six people killed and several others wounded in the second attack near the foreign ministry since January.

Afghanistan blast
A Taliban soldier stands guard near Afghanistan's foreign ministry in Kabul [File: Wakil Kohsar/AFP]

At least six people have been killed after a suicide bomber detonated explosives near Afghanistan’s foreign ministry in Kabul, the second attack near the ministry this year, according to officials.

The attacker was targeted by Afghan forces but the explosives he carried detonated and “killed six civilians and wounded a number of others”, ministry spokesman Abdul Nafy Takor tweeted on Monday.

Kabul police spokesman Khalid Zadran said the suicide attacker was identified at a security checkpoint near the ministry.

“In Malik Asghar Square … a suicide attacker before reaching the target was identified at a checkpoint and killed, but his explosives detonated,” he said.

He did not name the target, but the blast took place in a busy downtown area near a checkpoint that guards a heavily fortified street housing several government buildings, including the foreign ministry.

Zadran said at least three Taliban security force members were among the wounded.

A hospital run by an Italian NGO said it received some patients at its surgical centre in capital Kabul specialising in treating victims of Afghanistan’s long war.

No group claimed responsibility

A tweet from the NGO said at least one child was among the injured. No group has claimed responsibility so far.

Two witnesses told the Reuters news agency they heard the sound of a large explosion near the heavily fortified area that is home to several government buildings and foreign embassies.

Kabul and other urban areas have been hit by attacks in recent months, some of which have been claimed by ISIL (ISIS).

The Taliban governor of Afghanistan’s Balkh province was killed inside his office in a suicide attack that was claimed by the ISIL armed group earlier this month.

A blast in January killed at least five people and injured dozens at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as employees streamed out of the building at the end of their work day.

The ISIL group has also claimed other recent attacks in Kabul, including a bombing near a checkpoint at the city’s military airport that killed and wounded several people and also an assault on a Kabul hotel in mid-December.

The Taliban administration has said it is focused on securing the country and has carried out several raids against suspected ISIL members in recent weeks.

Monday’s incident took place around lunchtime when the city is especially crowded as government office staff leave early for the day during the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan.

Local media reported all routes leading to the blast scene were cordoned off by police.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies