Blast near Afghan foreign ministry kills 6, hurts several

·1 min read

By Charlotte Greenfield and Mohammad Yunus Yawar

KABUL (Reuters) -At least six civilians were killed by a suicide attack in Afghanistan's capital on Monday, near a security checkpoint leading to the foreign ministry, according to police.

"In Malik Asghar Square ... a suicide attacker before reaching the target was identified at a check point and killed, but his explosives detonated," said Kabul police spokesperson Khalid Zadran. He said several people were injured, including three Taliban security force members.

He did not name the target, but the blast took place in a busy downtown area near a checkpoint that guards a heavily fortified street housing several government buildings, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Nearby Emergency Hospital, which is run by an Italian NGO, had received 12 wounded patients and two dead bodies, its country director said.

Kabul and other urban areas have been hit by several attacks in recent months, some of which have been claimed by Islamic State militants.

A blast in January killed at least five people and injured dozens at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as employees streamed out of the building at the end of the working day.

The Taliban administration has said it is focused on securing the country and that it has carried out several raids against suspected Islamic State members in recent weeks.

Monday's incident took place around lunchtime, when the city is especially crowded as government office staff leave early for the day during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

(Reporting by Charlotte Greenfield and Mohammad Yunus Yawar; Editing by Bernadette Baum)