Kabul attack over, assailants killed: Afghan ministry

Kabul attack over, assailants killed: Afghan ministry

Police chief Gen. Sayed Mohammad Roshandil said the bomber blew himself up outside the Telecommunications Ministry, clearing the way for four gunmen to enter the building and the heavily guarded government compound in central Kabul.

TOLO reported that the Taliban had issued a statement denying involvement in the attack.

Eight civilians were wounded, he said.

Security forces managed to evacuate the 18-story building while militants continued their fighting against security forces.

At least seven people were killed in an attack on an Afghan government ministry on Saturday.

The operation marked a return to the kind of complex attacks in an urban centre that have killed hundreds of people in Kabul and other Afghan cities over recent years.

Interior ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said an explosion was heard near the communication ministry around 11:40 a.m., followed by sporadic gunfire.

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The country's interior ministry said four militants who attacked the ministry were killed, and that "more than 2,000 civilian staff were rescued".

Live footage on local TV showed government employees fleeing neighbouring Information and Culture Ministry buildings, with some climbing out of windows.

The attack had started about six hours earlier at a postal facility by the ministry, officials said, in a busy area in downtown Kabul. It is the city's main commercial area and has several large hotels.

Both Taliban insurgents and the Islamic State group are active in eastern Afghanistan and have previously claimed attacks in Kabul.

The attack followed several months of relative calm in Kabul, which coincided with talks between U.S. and Taliban officials aimed at opening the way for formal peace negotiations to end more than 17 years of war in Afghanistan.

The attack comes after peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban in Qatar were canceled.

President Ashraf Ghani condemned the attack, saying in a statement that the enemies of the nation were trying to create terror among the people by targeting civil servants.

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