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Six Dead In Suicide Blast At Afghan Ministry

The Information and Culture Ministry after the blast on October 30
KABUL -- Six people, including a man believed to be the suicide bomber, died in a suicide-bomb attack inside an Afghan ministry building in downtown Kabul.

The attack on the Information and Culture Ministry, located in a busy shopping district, took place at about 10:30 a.m., local time, when the streets were bustling with pedestrians.

Reporting from the scene, RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan correspondent Hameed Pazman said that children of ministry employees who were in a kindergarten inside the building were among those wounded in the attack.

Pazman said that three people inside the building were killed when a wall caved in as a result of the blast. One of the six reported injured later died of his injuries, he said. A security guard was reportedly killed as a militant or militants stormed the building.

Afghan and international forces have surrounded the bombing site as they investigate the incident, Pazman added.

Speaking live on Radio Free Afghanistan, Information and Culture Minister Abdul Karim Khuram blamed the attack on the "enemies of Afghanistan."

"The information we have so far suggests that three people have been martyred," Khuram said. "The [suicide] attacker first shot and killed the police guard at the gate. He then went into the international press room on the first floor and exploded himself. It injured many and killed three and has also caused extensive damage to the ministry [building]."

Purported Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed responsibly for the attack in an interview with AP. He said three militants launched the attack by throwing hand grenades at guards at the main gate.

Mujahid said that a man named Naqibullah from the eastern Khost Province carried out the suicide attack, while the other two fled.

Khuram said his ministry is a "prime target" for enemies looking to target the country's infrastructure. "Unfortunately, they have been trying to hit us in the past and today it happened again," he added.

While the Taliban and other insurgent groups regularly send suicide bombers against Afghan and foreign forces in the countryside, they have been rare in the capital in recent months.

Radio Free Afghanistan's Saliha Khalliqie and Hameed Pazman contributed to this report
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    Abubakar Siddique

    Abubakar Siddique, the editor of RFE/RL's Gandhara website, is a journalist specializing in coverage of Afghanistan and Pakistan. He is the author of The Pashtun Question: The Unresolved Key To The Future Of Pakistan And Afghanistan. ​