Blast in Afghan capital followed by gunfire in attack near ministry | News | DW | 20.04.2019
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Blast in Afghan capital followed by gunfire in attack near ministry

Afghan officials say an attack that involved an explosion near government buildings in the Afghan capital, Kabul, is over. Officials said the suicide bombers have been killed and more than 2,000 civilian staff rescued.

The Afghan Ministry of Interior on Saturday said the suicide bombers who staged an assault near the Afghan Ministry of Telecommunications in central Kabul shortly before midday had been killed.

The incident came a day after talks between Taliban and Afghan government representatives in the Qatari capital, Doha, were cancelled. They would have been the first held in that format to discuss how to end Afghanistan's 17-year-old war.

"Operations finished. All suicide bombers killed and more than 2000 civilians staff rescued," the Ministry of Interior said on Twitter.

Read more: Afghanistan: Can peace prevail?

What we know about the attack 

  • The Ministry of Interior Affairs said the suicide bombers had been killed
  • Officials said unidentified attackers tried to enter the multistoried building housing the ministry.
  • Following an initial blast outside the ministry, the gunmen were said to have engaged in fighting with security forces.
  • At least two gunmen were reported to have been killed.
  • Officials said the first blast appeared to have been caused by a suicide bomber.
  • The attack took place in downtown Kabul in the city's main commercial area.
  • No group has yet claimed responsibility, but both the Taliban and "Islamic State" are active in the region.  The Taliban said it had "nothing to do" with the attack.

Several wounded

A spokesman for the Interior Ministry, Nasart Rahimi, said the attackers had been stopped before reaching their target, the nearby central post office. 

Wahidullah Mayar from the Health Ministry said six people had been wounded and were being treated in hospital.

Relative calm

The attack comes after the intra-Afghan summit planned in Doha fell apart after disagreements over who should attend, with the Taliban criticizing the large number of delegates Kabul wanted to send. It also follows a period of relative calm in the capital after a year in which numerous deadly attacks were carried out there.

Taliban officials are currently also involved in separate peace negotiations with the US

 tj/zb (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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