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Six killed in blast near Afghanistan’s foreign ministry

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A powerful blast near Afghanistan’s foreign ministry in Kabul on Monday killed at least six people and wounded several others, including a child and some Taliban security force members, officials and a hospital said.

The interior ministry said the attacker was targeted by Afghan forces but the explosives he carried detonated and killed six civilians near a security checkpoint leading to the foreign ministry.

Kabul police spokesman Khalid Zadran said a suicide attacker was identified at a checkpoint in Malik Asghar Square, a busy downtown area that houses several government buildings and foreign embassies.

“In Malik Asghar Square … a suicide attacker before reaching the target was identified at a checkpoint and killed, but his explosives detonated,” he said.

He did not name the target, but the blast took place near a checkpoint that guards a heavily fortified street housing several government buildings, including the foreign ministry.

Zadran said at least three Taliban security force members were among the wounded.

A hospital run by an Italian NGO, Emergency, said it received some patients at its surgical centre in Kabul specializing in treating victims of war.

A tweet from the NGO said at least one child was among the injured.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack so far.

The blast was the second one to hit the foreign ministry in three months. In January, a blast killed at least five people and injured dozens as employees streamed out of the building at the end of their work day.

The Taliban administration has said it is focused on securing the country and has carried out several raids against suspected Islamic State (IS) members in recent weeks.

Monday’s incident took place around lunchtime when the city is especially crowded as government office staff leave early for the day during the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan.

Local media reported all routes leading to the blast scene were cordoned off by police.

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