5 killed in suicide blast outside Afghan foreign ministry: officials

Published January 11, 2023
Taliban security forces block a road after a suicide blast near Afghanistan’s foreign ministry at the Zanbaq Square in Kabul on January 11. — AFP
Taliban security forces block a road after a suicide blast near Afghanistan’s foreign ministry at the Zanbaq Square in Kabul on January 11. — AFP

At least five people were killed and several others were injured in a blast outside the foreign ministry in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul, officials said.

Kabul police chief Khalid Zadran said an explosion took place on the road outside the Afghan foreign ministry in which five of “our civilians were martyred” and a number of others were injured.

“The Islamic Emirate condemns such an aimless and cowardly attack on Muslims. The perpetrators will be found and punished for their evil deeds,” Zadran said.

AFP and Reuters had earlier reported that 20 people were killed in the attack.

No group claimed responsibility for the attack. Afghan Taliban officials routinely blame the militant Islamic State (IS) group for such attacks.

Another Taliban official, Ahmadullah Mutaqqi, brother of Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Mutaqqi, said a suicide bomber wanted to enter the ministry but he could not reach his target.

“Security officials detected him at the gate and the bomber blew himself up,” Ahmadullah said.

He said the incident occurred when the majority of foreign ministry officials were away and thus the casualties were fewer.

He denied social media reports that the blast took place when Taliban officials were holding a meeting with Chinese officials. “There was no meeting in the ministry,” Ahmadullah added.

Pakistan strongly condemned the “brazen terrorist attack” that took place.

“The government and people of Pakistan extend their deepest sympathies and condolences to the bereaved families,” said a press release from the Foreign Office.

“We stand in solidarity with our Afghan brothers and sisters in the fight against the scourge of terrorism,” it added.

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

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