By RFE/RL’s Radio Azadi
January 11, 2023
The regional affiliate of the Islamic State (IS) extremist group has claimed responsibility for an explosion that ripped through the Afghan capital near the entrance to the Foreign Ministry building, killing at least five people.
The militant group’s Amaq news agency said on an affiliated Telegram channel that an IS member managed to pass Taliban security fortifications “before blowing up his explosive belt in the middle of employees and guards.”
Since the Taliban seized power in August 2021, the country has been targeted by Islamic State-Khorasan, an offshoot of IS.
A spokesman for the Taliban government’s security headquarters, Khaled Zadran, confirmed to RFE/RL’s Radio Azadi that the blast took place at around 4 p.m. local time on January 11.
“An explosion took place today on the road to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a result of which five civilians were martyred and several more were injured,” Zadran said.
Ustad Fareedun, an official at the Taliban-led government’s Information Ministry, said 20 people were killed. The bomber had planned to enter the Foreign Ministry but failed, he said, according to Reuters.
Emergency Hospital, a surgical center run by an Italian NGO, said it had received more than 40 patients following the explosion, which was condemned by the United Nations and several countries.
Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai also condemned the attack, saying on Twitter that “this act of terrorism is a crime against humanity and against all human and Islamic values.”
A diplomatic source within the Foreign Ministry who asked not to be identified told RFE/RL that the explosion occurred when the ministry’s employees were on leave.
But the same source said that the explosion was strong and there were casualties.
The source also said the blast happened while a meeting between Taliban representatives and Chinese officials was going on inside the ministry.
Zia Ahmad Takal, a ministry deputy spokesman, disputed that there was any such meeting at the time.
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