20 dead as explosions hit Kabul city centre

Authorities in Kabul say two explosions have hit the centre of the Afghan capital and at least 21 people are dead.

Kabul chief of police Dawood Amin said the area hit by the first blast on Monday morning included foreign offices. Authorities said at least 21 people, including a journalist, were killed and 27 wounded in the rush hour attack.

Mohammad Mousa Zahir, director of Wazir Akbarkhan Hospital, said several people suffering injuries from the blast were being treated at the hospital.

Agence France-Presse said its chief photographer in Kabul, Shah Marai, died in one of the explosions. “He died in a blast that was targeting a group of journalists who had rushed to the scene of a suicide attack in the Afghan capital,” the news agency said on Twitter. A Reuters photographer was slightly hurt by flying shrapnel.

The first explosion, detonated by an assailant on a motorcycle, was in the Shashdarak area close to buildings belonging to the NDS intelligence service. It came a week after a blast killed 60 people at a voter registration centre in the west of the city.

A Kabul police spokesman confirmed the blast and said it might have been caused by a suicide attack, but there was no confirmation and no immediate claim of responsibility

“After the first suicide attack in which a motorcycle was used, a second bomber after 30 minutes, with a camera pretending as a journalist detonated his explosives right amongst the cameramen and reporters and rescue workers,” police officials told The Guardian.

The Taliban, fighting to restore their version of strict Islamic law to Afghanistan, announced their usual spring offensive last week and there has been heavy fighting in several areas of the country since.

Security officials have warned of the risk of increasing attacks in Kabul and elsewhere ahead of parliamentary elections planned in October, UK Guardian reports.

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