ISIS claims deadly attack on Afghan ministry

ISIS claims deadly attack on Afghan ministry

An hourslong siege on the Afghan communications ministry in Kabul ended Saturday after security forces killed all five attackers, authorities said.

There has been no immediate claim of responsibility.

The dead included four civilians and three police officers, while another eight civilians were wounded, a government official said.

The Afghan affiliate of Islamic State, sometimes known as Islamic State Khorasan (ISIS-K) after an old name for the region that includes Afghanistan, has been active in the country since 2015, fighting the Taliban as well as Afghan and USA forces.

Shahzad Aryobee, Minister of Communications and Information Technologies, said on Twitter that "I strongly condemn terrorist attack martyred 5 of our colleagues".

"As a result of today's explosion/attack in Kabul city, two people have been martyred (killed) and 6 others are wounded", the health ministry spokesman wrote in a tweet, adding 3 of the injured were women. They were all eventually rescued by commandos.

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General Sayed Mohammad Roshan Dil, the Kabul police chief, said four attackers had been wearing police uniforms and had targeted a shrine near the ministry.

Afghan president Ashraf Ghani strongly condemned the attack in a statement, saying the enemies of Afghanistan, by targeting civil servants, are trying to create terror among the people.

Local television footage showed a small plume of smoke near the ministry, and people climbing out the windows on a lower level.

Interior Ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi confirmed gunfire around the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, without providing further details.

Past year however saw a string of attacks including one where a massive bomb concealed in an ambulance killed more than 100 people.

However, while heavy fighting continues across Afghanistan and Taliban fighters have announced their now-customary spring offensive, there have been no large scale attacks on civilian targets in capital Kabul in recent weeks.

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