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Six killed in Kabul suicide attack near Afghan spy agency office

December 26, 2017

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AFGHAN security forces remove a destroyed vehicle after a suicide attack in Kabul on Monday.—AP
AFGHAN security forces remove a destroyed vehicle after a suicide attack in Kabul on Monday.—AP

KABUL: A suicide bomber killed six civilians in an attack near an Afghan intelligence agency compound in Kabul on Monday in the latest assault claimed by the militant Islamic State group in the capital.

The attacker struck as workers were arriving at the offices of the National Directorate of Security (NDS), a week after militants stormed an NDS training centre in Kabul.

Interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish said six civilians in a car were killed when the attacker blew himself up.

“Six people were martyred and three others were wounded,” Danish said.

“They were hit when they were passing the area in their vehicle. We still do not know the target of the attack but it happened on the main road.” The health ministry confirmed the death toll but put the number of wounded at one.

A witness at the blast site said the attack happened outside the main entrance to an NDS compound. Security forces have swarmed into the area, closing off the main road leading to the building.

Ambulances were seen leaving the scene, apparently taking casualties to hospitals in the city.

“Our initial information shows a blast took place near an intelligence headquarters in Shash Darak neighbourhood of Kabul,” deputy interior ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi told AFP.

The Islamic State group claimed the attack in a statement via their Amaq propaganda arm. It was the latest claimed assault by the Middle Eastern jihadist group in Kabul, which in recent months has become one of the deadliest places in the war-torn country for civilians.

Security in the city has been ramped up since May 31 when a massive truck bomb ripped through the diplomatic quarter, killing some 150 people and wounding around 400 others — mostly civilians.

IS has expanded its presence in Afghanistan since it first appeared in the region in 2015.

It has scaled up its attacks in Kabul, including on security installations and the country’s Shia minority.

Last week’s attack on the intelligence training centre triggered an intense hours-long gun battle which killed the two militants in an assault that was also claimed by IS. The resurgent Taliban are also stepping up assaults on security installations.

On Friday, a suicide bom­ber drove an explosives-pac­ked Humvee into a police compound in Kandahar pro­vince, killing six officers and destroying a building.

Published in Dawn, December 26th, 2017