Suicide blast outside Afghan foreign ministry kills 20

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An suicide bomber who detonated explosives outside the foreign ministry in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul on Wednesday killed 20 people, according to an information ministry official.

Ustad Fareedun, an official at the Taliban-run information ministry, said the bomber had planned to enter the foreign ministry but failed.

“Twenty people were killed and many other injured in the suicide attack,” he said.

In the aftermath, bodies lay strewn on the road outside the high-walled compound of the ministry, marked with the Taliban flag, a video verified by AFP showed.

Some injured people writhed on the ground, screaming for help, and a handful of onlookers scrambled to offer assistance.

The blast hit at about 4pm local time, Kabul’s police spokesperson Khalid Zadran said. He did not provide details on the number of casualties, saying officials were investigating.

The Taliban-run administration has faced an insurgency by Islamic State militants who have targeted foreigners at certain sites, including the Russian and Pakistani embassies and a hotel catering to Chinese businessmen.

The blast took place at a busy time of day in a heavily fortified area surrounded by checkpoints on a street housing several ministries.

The ministry itself did not appear to be badly damaged. Window panes in the interior ministry were also shattered by the impact of the blast.

Some countries, including Turkey and China, also have embassies in the area.

A person in a nearby office, who asked not to be named, described hearing a loud explosion and said they were evacuated from their building.

An AFP team was conducting an interview inside the information ministry next door when the blast took place.—AFP