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Suicide bomber hits Afghan capital during Hagel visit


A suicide bomber blew himself up outside a gate of the Afghan Defense Ministry in Kabul on Saturday and the attack was followed by small-arms fire, said a spokesman for Afghanistan's NATO-led force.

There was no immediate word on casualties in the blast which took place during a visit by U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) spokesman said Hagel was nowhere near the explosion. A U.S. defence official said Hagel was in a safe location at an ISAF facility.

The attack underscored the security challenges facing Afghanistan as U.S.-led NATO forces prepare to leave the country by the end of 2014.

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