Five killed in suicide blast near Afghan foreign ministry: Police

No foreigners were present in the building when the attack took place, say officials


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Published: Wed 11 Jan 2023, 7:14 PM

Afghan police said at least five people were killed and several wounded in a blast near the foreign ministry in Kabul on Wednesday.

"An explosion took place today on the road to the ministry of foreign affairs as a result of which five civilians were martyred and several more were injured," said Kabul police spokesman Khalid Zadran.

Officials said a suicide bomber blew himself up near Afghanistan's foreign ministry, where a Chinese delegation had been due to meet on Wednesday.

The Taliban claim to have improved security since storming back to power in 2021 but there have been scores of bomb blasts and attacks, many claimed by the local chapter of the Islamic State (IS) group.

An AFP team was conducting an interview inside the information ministry next door when Wednesday's blast took place.

A company driver waiting outside saw a man holding a bag and with a rifle slung over his shoulder walk past before the man blew himself up.

"He passed by my car and after a few seconds there was a loud blast," Jamshed Karimi said, adding he saw 20 to 25 causalities.

"I saw the man blowing himself up."

Kabul police spokesman Khalid Zadran confirmed the blast, "which unfortunately resulted in casualties".

In the aftermath, bodies lay strewn on the road outside the high-walled compound of the ministry, marked with the Taliban flag, a video verified by AFP showed.

Some injured people writhed on the ground, screaming for help, and a handful of onlookers scrambled to offer assistance.

The ministry itself did not appear to be badly damaged. Window panes in the interior ministry were also shattered by the impact of the blast.

"There was supposed to be a Chinese delegation at the Foreign Ministry today, but we don't know if they were present at the time of the blast," deputy minister of information and culture Muhajer Farahi told AFP.

However, Ahmadullah Muttaqi, a senior official at the prime minister's office, said no foreigners were present at the ministry when it was attacked.

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