Dozens of casualties as blast hits Afghan capital KabulBy Mirwais Harooni
January 04. 2018 9:11PM
KABUL - A suicide bomber in the Afghan capital caused dozens of casualties on Thursday after blowing himself up close to a group of security personnel who were carrying out an operation against illegal drugs and alcohol dealing, officials said.
Wahid Majroh, a spokesman for the ministry of public health, said 11 dead and 25 wounded had been brought to city hospitals after the blast in an area of the city not far from the U.S. Embassy and other foreign missions.
As security forces arrived, a Reuters reporter saw four police vehicles carrying dead or wounded security personnel from the scene.
A security official at the scene confirmed the explosion had been caused by a suicide attack and Kabul police spokesman Basir Mujahid said at least five police had been killed.
An official at the ministry of public said 15 wounded had been brought into city hospitals.
Police officers at the scene said the bomber had been wearing police or army uniform and had approached a group of security personnel near where the controls on illegal drugs and alcohol had been carried out, but there was no official confirmation.
"Kabul police forces were there to prevent a possible protest when a suicide bomber approached them and detonated his suicide vest," Mujahid said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
While Afghan forces backed by U.S. air strikes have claimed some success against Taliban insurgents since the United States announced a stepped up military strategy last year, high profile attacks on civilian targets in Kabul have continued.
The attack happened days after a suicide bomber killed at least 41 people and wounded more than 80 at a Shi'ite cultural center in Kabul, underlining the precarious security situation in the Afghan capital.
That attack was claimed by Islamic State, which has claimed responsibility for a number of similar attacks in Afghanistan over the past two years.
(Reporting by Mirwais Harooni; Editing by Richard Balmforth)