The latest: At least six people have died and many others have been injured after a suicide bomber and his explosives blew up near the Taliban’s foreign ministry in Kabul on Monday. This is the second attack near the same ministry this year.
- According to Khalid Zadran, a spokesman for the Kabul police chief, Taliban security forces spotted the bomber before he was able to reach a checkpoint at the Malik Asghar intersection, near the ministry.
- Interior ministry spokesman Abdul Nafi Takor tweeted, “With his killing, the explosives carried by the attacker also exploded which killed six civilians and wounded a number of others,” he said.
- Three members of the Taliban security forces were among those wounded in the attack.
- 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 holy month of Ramadan.
- Italian NGO Emergency, which operates a hospital in the capital had earlier said that it received two fatalities from the explosion and 12 wounded, including a child.
- As per residents of the area, checkpoints are present along the fortified route to the ministry, which is on one of the roads leading to the presidential palace. Guards stop and search vehicles and people along the way.
- There were reports of a much higher death toll, but Taliban authorities did not immediately offer any comment on the incident.
- There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombing.
Why it matters? The regional affiliate of the Islamic State group has increased attacks since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in mid-August 2021. IS has targeted Taliban officials and patrols, as well as members of the country’s minority Shiites.
- The Islamic State group has also claimed other recent attacks in Kabul, including a bombing near a checkpoint at the city’s military airport that killed and wounded several people and also an assault on a Kabul hotel in mid-December.
- The Taliban administration has said it is focused on securing the country and that it has carried out several raids against suspected ISIS members in recent weeks.
Zoom out: In mid-January, an IS attack near the ministry killed at least five people and wounded several others as employees streamed out of the building at the end of their work day.
- The Khorasan branch of the Islamic State (IS) group claimed responsibility for the attack.