Several killed in attack on Afghan government ministry

At least seven people were killed in an attack on an Afghan government ministry on Saturday.

It broke months of relative calm in the capital Kabul and highlighted continued security threats despite efforts to open peace talks with the Taliban.

A suicide bomb was detonated at the entrance to the multi-story building housing the communications ministry in a busy commercial area of the city. Then gunfire which could be heard over a mile away broke out.

The dead included four civilians and three police officers, while another eight civilians were wounded, a government official said.

“We saw a gunman trying to break open an office door and as we were running out, he was trying to shoot us and he started shouting ‘I will kill everyone here,’” said Syeda Rashid, an office administrator in the ministry who escaped with several of her colleagues.

There was no claim of responsibility, but the Taliban issued a statement denying any involvement. Many such attacks have been claimed by the radical Islamic State group.

Prior to Saturday’s attack, Kabul had been relatively calm as US officials have held a series of meetings with representatives from the Taliban to try to agree on the basis for a peace settlement and an end to more than 17 years of war.

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