Blast kills at least 5 outside Afghan Foreign Ministry in Kabul


ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — An explosion outside the Foreign Ministry in the Afghan capital killed at least five people and injured more than 40, with the casualty toll likely higher, according to a Taliban police spokesman and a nearby hospital.

“The death toll is still rising,” warned Stefano Sozza, the country director of the Italian NGO Emergency, which runs a hospital in Kabul. Sozza said hospital staff had made beds in the facility’s kitchen and canteen to accommodate the more than 40 people injured in the blast. statement.

Five people killed in the explosion were civilians, police spokesman Khalid Zadran tweeted. He did not specify the number of people injured but previously said security teams had arrived at the scene to investigate. Other Taliban officials have repeatedly declined requests for comment on reports of a higher death toll.

The blast happened in the heart of the capital, Kabul, on one of the city’s most fortified streets, where government ministries and other high-ranking Taliban offices are located. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

The blast was the latest in a number of bombings targeting the Taliban and foreign officials in the Afghan capital in recent months. Earlier this month, a bomb attack targeted the military side of the international airport in Kabul.

Last month, an explosion occurred at the Pakistani Embassy in Kabul, and gunmen attacked a hotel frequented by international business executives, killing five people.

In October, a bomb exploded in the Interior Ministry, and a month before the bombing outside the Russian Embassy left six people dead.

The Islamic State group in Afghanistan has claimed responsibility for the recent attacks. The group was active in Afghanistan for years and carried out major bombings while the previous government controlled the country.

National Emergencies Director Sozza said Wednesday’s attack was one of the largest attacks on the capital Kabul in the past year. “This is the first mass death in 2023, but certainly one of the most patient cases since the beginning of 2022.”

Emergency hospitals in Afghanistan specialize in treating wounded soldiers. Last year, the surgical center in Kabul dealt with 29 “mass casualty incidents,” a term that can refer to massive bombings and other types of deadly attacks.

The United Nations mission to Afghanistan cited reports of “lots” of casualties including civilians in Wednesday’s attack in a tweet condemning the violence.

The delegation added: “Increasing insecurity is a serious concern.

The Taliban have pledged a higher level of security under their rule, but recent bombings have raised serious concerns about the group’s ability to defend the country.

Haq Nawaz Khan of Peshawar, Pakistan, contributed to this report.


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