At least 20 people have been killed after a suspected suicide bomber detonated himself outside the foreign ministry in Kabul in the second major attack in the Afghan capital this year, according to a Taliban official.
Ustad Fareedun, an official at the Taliban-run information ministry, told Reuters that the bomber had planned to enter the foreign ministry but failed. He added that at least 20 people were killed and many others injured in the blast.
A photo of the area, confirmed by official sources, showed at least nine people wounded or killed, lying outside the ministry as security forces attended to them.
Kabul police chief spokesman Khalid Zadran said said security teams have been deployed to the site. He said that at least five people were killed and several wounded in the blast.
The blast hit about 4pm local time (11:30 GMT) on Wednesday, Zadran said.
Taliban foreign and interior ministry officials have yet to comment on the deadly explosion.
Obaidullah Baheer, Lecturer at the American University of Afghanistan, Kabul, said that the discrepancies in casualty figures are ‘troubling’.
“We have seen the Taliban do this before. It does not help the security of the city to deny numbers of the actual casualties. So, a lot of questions, little answers,” he told Al Jazeera.
Baheer added that the blast site is in a very high security area. “There are multiple checkpoints. You have to have specific documents to access that street,” he said.
The blast reportedly happened when a Chinese delegation was meeting the Taliban at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.