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Massive bomb kills at least 10 in Afghan capital

Kabul explosion

Kabul explosion: Massive bomb kills at least 10 in Afghan capital,

Afghan capital is rocked by a powerful blast near the defence ministry during morning rush hour, injuring at least 68.

A powerful explosion has rocked Kabul in Afghanistan, in the capital’s downtown area near the ministry of defence, killing at least 10 people and sending dozens to the hospital, the interior ministry said.

The bomb went off during morning rush hour in the capital when the streets were filled with people.

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.

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Police and special Afghan security forces were swarming the area and cordoned it off. Sporadic gunfire could be heard.

The heavily-secured neighbourhood is home to some military and government buildings, including one shared by Afghanistan’s intelligence agency and defence ministry, as well as the Afghan Football Federation and the Afghan Cricket Board.

“Some of our colleagues are trapped inside, we have reports of some injuries. We don’t know if the attackers have entered the building,” Shams Amini, a football federation spokesman said.

Kabul explosionAt least 68 people were taken to hospitals health ministry spokesman Wahidullah Mayar told Al Jazeera.

Kabul’s chief police spokesman, Firdous Faramaz, said was unclear on the target or the type of explosive device, according to Associated Press.

No group immediately claimed responsibility, and police said they did not yet know the target or nature of the blast.

Both the Taliban and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group (ISIL, ISIS) are active in Kabul.

The attack comes two days after the Taliban and the United States began a seventh round of talks in Qatar, where the armed group maintains a political office.

The negotiations have so far centred on four issues — counter-terrorism, the foreign troop presence, an intra-Afghan dialogue and a permanent ceasefire.

A potential deal would see the US agree to withdraw its troops after more than 17 years in Afghanistan, igniting deep concerns among huge swathes of Afghans who fear the militants will return to some semblance of power.

In return the Taliban would guarantee the country would never again become a safe haven for violent extremist groups, as happened with Al-Qaeda before the September 11, 2001 attacks.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES

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