Death Toll Rises to 64 in Central Kabul Suicide Attack
Afghan security forces respond to a Taliban-claimed suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Tuesday, 19 April 2016.(Photo: AP)
Afghan security forces respond to a Taliban-claimed suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Tuesday, 19 April 2016.(Photo: AP)

Death Toll Rises to 64 in Central Kabul Suicide Attack

A major Taliban suicide bomb and gun attack on a government security office in central Kabul during rush hour on Tuesday killed 64 people and wounded more than 347.

The Presidential Palace condemned the attack “in the strongest possible terms” and said in a statement that a number of people had been killed or wounded.

A spokesperson for an emergency hospital in the city said the facility had received eight lightly wounded Afghan soldiers.

Civilians and members of the Afghan security forces were among those caught in the attack, and casualty estimates are expected to rise, ministry spokesperson Ismail Kawosi told Reuters. The attack was aimed at a building that houses a security service that provides protection for government officials.

An Afghan soldier responds to a Taliban-claimed suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, 19 April  2016.  (Photo: AP)<a></a>
An Afghan soldier responds to a Taliban-claimed suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, 19 April 2016. (Photo: AP)

Taliban Claims Responsibility

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid says the militant group claimed responsibility for the attack. Taliban insurgents have stepped up their attacks against the security forces since announcing the start of their spring offensive last week.

A Reuters witness near the scene also reported hearing gunfire more than half an hour after the blast. Kabul police also reported some gunfire in the area immediately after the blast, which happened during the morning rush hour.

Several major Afghan security agencies are based in the area, including the National Directorate of Security. The Ministry of Defence and the presidential palace are also within a few hundred metres.

(With agency inputs,)

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