7 reported dead, 8 hurt after suicide blast, battle in Kabul
KABUL, Afghanistan — A suicide blast rocked Afghanistan’s capital Saturday during a gunbattle with security forces, officials said, killing at least seven people a day after hopes for all-encompassing peace talks collapsed.
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.
Nasart Rahimi, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said four civilians and three soldiers were killed during the attack. Eight civilians were wounded, he said.
Wahidullah Mayar, spokesman for the Public Health Ministry, said the wounded people were evacuated to hospitals.
No group claimed responsibility for the attack. Both Taliban insurgents and the Islamic State group are active in eastern Afghanistan and have previously claimed attacks in Kabul.
The Taliban denied involvement.
Rahimi said the security operation ended at the Ministry of Telecommunication “after all four attackers were shot and killed by Afghan security forces.”
The attack came a day after Afghan-to-Afghan peace talks in Qatar were canceled. It would have marked the first time that Taliban and Kabul government officials sat together to negotiate an end to the war in Afghanistan and a withdrawal of U.S. troops.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani condemned the attack, saying the enemies of Afghanistan, by targeting civil servants, are trying to create terror among the people.
Rahimi said as many as 2,700 government employees and civilians were rescued by security forces after being stuck in several government buildings including the central post office. In Los Angeles: A man suspected of involvement in a mysterious dissident group’s February raid on North Korea’s Embassy in Madrid was arrested by U.S. authorities.
Christopher Ahn, a former U.S. Marine, was arrested and charged Friday, according to a person familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity. The specific charges against Ahn were not clear.
Separately, on Thursday, federal agents raided the apartment of Adrian Hong, a leader of the Free Joseon group. Hong was not arrested.
Free Joseon, also known as the Cheollima Civil Defense group, styles itself as a government-inexile dedicated to toppling the ruling Kim family dynasty in North Korea.
Afghan security personnel rescue men and children Saturday after an attack outside the telecommunications ministry in Kabul, the capital. At least eight civilians were wounded.