Explosion, gunfire rock Kabul as Afghan Information Ministry comes under attack

11 students killed as third blast rocks Afghanistan

Kabul:  An explosion and gunfire was heard in the centre of the Afghan capital on Saturday as unidentified attackers targeted the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology headquarters where they were battling security forces, officials said.

The explosion, followed by the sound of sporadic gunshots, was reported near the ministry building which is 18 storeys high and is believed to be one of the tallest in Kabul.

Interior Ministry spokesperson Nasrat Rahimi tweeted that three suicide bombers had launched an attack on the Ministry of Communication and IT post office building at 11.40 a.m, “taking benefit of a holy shrine”.

The BBC said that the attack happened in a busy area near one of the city’s most popular hotels, a couple of other ministries and the presidential palace.

It reported that one of the attackers got inside the ministry building. Another detonated his explosives at its boundary wall and the third was shot dead by the police.

No group has yet said it carried out the attack, but it follows the suspension of talks between the Afghan government and Taliban insurgents. But the outfit’s spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said it was not behind the attack.

Later, Kabul Police Chief Sayed Mohammad Roshandil was cited as saying by TOLO News that the ministry was “almost evacuated” and that it has at least 2,000 employees. Six people were reported to have been taken to hospital for treatment.

He said the security forces had entered the building housing the ministry and the clearance operation was ongoing.

The Afghan branch of the Islamic State group has carried out a number of deadly attacks in Kabul but has not so far said it was behind this one.