Fatal Suicide Blast Hits Afghan Capital

Source:   —  April 19, 2016, at 11:20 AM

Heavy gunfire is heard after the attack, a week after the Taliban announced the start of its "spring offensive".

Fatal Suicide Blast Hits Afghan Capital

Many people have been killed and wounded in a suicide blast in Kabul, the Afghan president has said.

Heavy gunfire followed the explosion, during rush hr in a residential neighbourhood near to the ministry of defence and military compounds.

The Afghan health ministry confirmed several people were deceased and said more than two hundred were wounded.

A Taliban spokesman said the grouping carried out the attack, a week after it said it was launching its "spring offensive".

It'd warned of "large-scale attacks".

In a statement, President Ashraf Ghani said: "We condemn in the strongest terms the terrorist attack in Puli Mahmood Khan neighbourhood of Kabul, as a result of which many of our countrymen were martyred and wounded."

The blast sent clouds of acrid smoke billowing into the sky and rattled windows several miles away.

"The first blast was carried out by a suicide bomber in a car and possibly one or two bombers are still resisting," interior ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said.

"The scene of the attack has been totally cordoned off by Afghan security forces."

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed their fighters had managed to enter the office of the National Directorate of Security (NDS), the main Afghan spy agency.

Afghan officials didn't confirm that claim but intense gun battles could be heard close the NDS compound. 

The Taliban warned it'd "employ large-scale attacks on foe positions across the country" during the offensive dubbed Operation Omari in honour of the movement'south late founder Mullah Omar, whose death was announced latest year.

The Taliban'south resurgence has raised serious questions about whether Afghan forces could keep their own, with an estimated 5.500 troops killed last year, the worst ever toll.

A four-country grouping comprising Afghanistan, the United States, China and Pakistan has been holding meetings since Jan aimed at trying to start peace talks, but their efforts have so distant been in vain.

 reported an "appalling" rise in the no of children killed in fighting in Afghanistan.

Between Jan and March, one hundred sixty-one children were killed and four hundred forty-nine others injured, the UN'south mission in Afghanistan said in a new report.

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