Seven killed after car bomb blast near Afghan interior ministry in Kabul
KABUL (Reuters) – Seven people were killed and seven injured on Wednesday after a car bomb explosion near the interior ministry in the Afghan capital of Kabul, a government spokesman said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.
A car bomb has been detonated in the Afghan capital of Kabul during the morning commute, killing seven people and wounding at least seven more, officials said.
Nasrat Rahimi, spokesman for the Afghan Interior Ministry, said the blast occurred on Wednesday in the Qasaba area of the city and that the number of casualties could rise.
Rahimi said the target of the attack was not immediately clear and that an investigation was under way at the scene. He said the dead were all civilians.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but the Taliban and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) armed group are active in the capital and have claimed earlier attacks in Kabul.
Ambulances sirens could be heard and a giant plume of smoke rose from the area following the explosion.
The blast came a day after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani announced that Kabul would release three high-ranking Taliban prisoners in an apparent prisoner swap for Western hostages who had been kidnapped by the group in 2016.
The three Taliban prisoners include Anas Haqqani, who was seized in 2014 and whose older brother is the deputy Taliban leader and head of the Haqqani network, a Taliban affiliate.
Ghani did not specify the fate of the Western hostages – an Australian and an American, both professors at the American University in Kabul – and it was not clear when or where they would be freed.
Ghani said on Tuesday that he hoped the decision would help “pave the way” for unofficial direct talks between his government and the Taliban, who have long refused to negotiate with the administration in Kabul.