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Friday, 24 May 2019

Afghan official: Blast rocks country's capital

AP , Saturday 20 Apr 2019
Afghanistan
Afghan journalists work behind a barrier at the site of an attack on the Telecommunication Ministry in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, April 20, 2019. (Photo: AP)
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An explosion rocked Afghanistan's capital city on Saturday during a gun battle with security forces, hitting the government's central district, a security official said.

Nasart Rahimi, a spokesman for the interior ministry, said the blast occurred outside of the telecommunications ministry. A few of the attackers then tried to enter the building, he added.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. Both Taliban insurgents and the Islamic State group are active in eastern Afghanistan and have previously claimed attacks in Kabul.

The attack comes a day after Afghan-to-Afghan peace talks in Qatar were cancelled. It would have marked the first time that Taliban and Kabul government officials sat together to negotiate an end to the war in Afghanistan and a withdrawal of U.S. troops.

Rahimi said security forces had stopped the attackers before they could reach their target of the nearby central post office. At least two of the gunmen were shot dead.

"The area is surrounded by the Afghan security forces and a gun battle is going on with unknown number of attackers,'' said Rahimi.

Live footage from local TV shows government employees fleeing the neighboring information and culture ministry buildings, with some climbing out through the windows.

Security forces have blocked all roads accessing the site.

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