Asia

Afghan blasts: Twin Kabul explosions 'kill 24 people'

An Afghan policeman arrives at the site of the suicide attack in Kabul (05 September 2016) Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The attack on Monday is the latest in a series of militant bombings of Kabul in recent months

Twin bomb blasts in the Afghan capital Kabul have killed at least 24 people and injured 91 others near the defence ministry, officials say.

The first bomb was detonated remotely while the second was triggered by a suicide bomber, local media reported.

An army general and two senior police officers are among the dead, a ministry of defence spokesperson told the BBC.

The Taliban, who have carried out frequent attacks in Kabul, claimed the blasts.

Deputy defence ministry spokesman Mohammad Radmanish told the Associated Press news agency that the suicide attacker struck as security forces gathered near the ministry to deal with the first blast.

As night fell, another loud explosion was heard in Kabul, followed by gunfire. There was no immediate word on the cause of the blast or details of any casualties.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Police and the security services have now secured the area of the blasts
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The emergency services rushed to treat numerous injured people
Image copyright AP
Image caption The area of the attack is now being cleared up by fire fighters

Civilians, police and soldiers were all killed in the earlier blasts as ministry employees were leaving work at rush hour.

President Ashraf Ghani condemned the attack saying it had been carried out by "the enemies of Afghanistan who have lost their ability to fight the security and defence forces".

He said that "the aim of the terrorists is to spread fear".

An Italian-run emergency hospital in Kabul tweeted that it was treating 21 injured people, four of whom died on arrival.

The attack comes 11 days after 13 people, including seven students, died in an attack by gunmen on the American University in Kabul.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Scores of the injured were rushed to hospital in the aftermath of the blasts

In August two foreign professors, one from the US and one from Australia, were kidnapped by armed men near the university.

No group has admitted responsibility and their whereabouts are still unknown. Several other foreigners have been kidnapped in recent times.

In July a suicide bomber from the self-styled Islamic State (IS) targeted a protest march by members of the Shia Hazara minority in Kabul, killing 80 people. Shia Muslims are reviled by IS.

The upsurge in violence in the capital comes as the Taliban also strives to increase its presence nationally, making an already uncertain security situation even worse since Nato forces ended their combat mission in Afghanistan at the end of 2014.

The militants are now threatening to capture Lashkar Gah, the capital of the southern province of Helmand, in addition to the northern city of Kunduz - which they briefly captured last year in their biggest military offensive since the US-led 2001 invasion.

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