Powerful bomb blast rocks Afghan capital Kabul

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KABUL: A powerful bomb blast rocked the Afghan capital early Monday, rattling windows, sending smoke billowing from Kabul’s downtown area and wounding at least 50 people, officials and a medic said.
The explosion occurred as the streets in the capital were packed with morning commuters.
Officials and police were at the scene of the blast and few details were available. Ambulance sirens screamed throughout the downtown area as they rushed to the scene.
Mohammad Karim, a police official in the area of the attack, said a car bomb exploded outside a Defence Ministry building. Militants then ran into a nearby high-rise located in a crowded market and began firing down on the ministry.
Police and special Afghan security forces were swarming the area and cordoned it off.
Kabul’s chief police spokesman, Firdous Faramaz, could only confirm the explosion, but was unclear on the target or the type of explosive device.
Ambulance worker Mohammed Zahir said at least 50 people were wounded.
The capital has been relatively quiet in recent months following a spate of violent explosions, many claimed by the local Islamic State affiliate.
The Taliban, who have also carried out scores of attacks in Kabul, said they had no claim of responsibility for the blast.
The explosion comes as the Taliban and the United States hold talks in the Middle Eastern state of Qatar, where the militant group maintains a political office. …Agencies

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