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At least six killed in Daesh-claimed suicide blast in Kabul

Police have said at least six civilians were killed by a suicide attack in Afghanistan’s capital, near a security checkpoint leading to the foreign ministry.

“In Malik Asghar Square … a suicide attacker before reaching the target was identified at a checkpoint and killed, but his explosives detonated,” said Kabul police spokesperson Khalid Zadran on Monday. 

He said several people were injured, including three Taliban security force members.

He did not name the target, but the blast took place in a busy downtown area near a checkpoint that guards a heavily fortified street housing several government buildings, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

A nearby hospital, which is run by an Italian NGO, had received 12 wounded patients and two dead bodies, its country director said.

Daesh later claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement posted on a website affiliated with the group.

Monday’s blast was the second attack near the foreign ministry in Kabul in less than three months, and the first since the Muslim holy month of Ramadan began on Thursday in Afghanistan.

On January 11, a suicide bomber blew himself up near the foreign ministry, killing 10 and wounding 53 people, according to the United Nations.

The Taliban authorities, who have often tried to play down attacks challenging their rule, had said that five people were killed in that attack, which was also claimed by Daesh.

The group has increasingly become a major challenge, killing and wounding hundreds of people in several attacks, some targeting foreigners or foreign interests in a bid to undermine the Taliban government.

At least five Chinese nationals were wounded in December when gunmen stormed a hotel popular with businesspeople in Kabul.

That raid was claimed by Daesh, as was an attack on Pakistan’s embassy in Kabul also in December that Islamabad denounced as an “assassination attempt” against its ambassador.

Two Russian embassy staff members were killed in a suicide bombing outside their mission in September in another IS-claimed attack.

The Taliban and Daesh share an ideology, but the latter are fighting to establish a global “caliphate” instead of the Taliban’s more inward-looking aim of ruling an independent Afghanistan.

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