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Death toll from Kabul attack doubles

The death toll in one of the worst attacks to occur in the Afghan capital has risen to 64. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the blast, which targeted the offices of Afghanistan's intelligence agency.

A statement from Afghanistan's interior ministry on Wednesday said that the

death toll from Tuesday's blast

had risen to 64. The attack was carried out by a suicide bomber and two gunmen, targeting the National Directorate of Security in a central district of Kabul.

"One of the suicide bombers detonated an explosives-laden vehicle close to the NDS office and opened way to other attackers," a ministry post on Facebook read, adding that all those killed were civilians.

In addition to those killed, 347 people were injured in the attacks.

The Taliban has claimed responsibility.

The ministry has ordered an investigation into the attacks, although Kabul Police Chief Abdul Rahman Rahimi said "initial reports show that the attack was planned outside of the borders of our country," which is wording often used by Afghan officials to refer to Pakistan, where they suspect Taliban leaders are being harbored.

Afghanistan's Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah postponed a trip to Pakistan because of the attack. He visited the scene on Tuesday, saying "the government raised the call for peace, but unfortunately the answer by the enemy was fighting, violence, bloodshed, killing innocent people."

The attack is one of the deadliest to hit Kabul in years. It comes a week after the Taliban announced its annual "Spring Offensive," launched to coincide with warmer weather in Afghanistan.

mz/msh (AP, AFP)

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