A suicide attacker blew himself up near a crowd of police and protesters in Kabul on Thursday, killing at least 11 people and wounding 25 others, in the latest deadly violence to bring carnage to the Afghan capital.
“A suicide attacker has detonated himself … close to a number of police who were trying to provide security for an ongoing protest,” the deputy interior ministry spokesman, Nasrat Rahimi, told AFP.
Health ministry spokesman Wahid Majroh said 11 bodies had been taken to hospitals around the city along with 25 wounded. He added that the toll could rise.
A security source who spoke to AFP on the condition of anonymity said 20 people had been killed and 20 wounded in the attack, but the higher death toll could not be immediately confirmed.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which happened during a protest following the death of a shopkeeper during a police operation targeting alcohol and bootleggers, an unnamed official said.
The deadly assault comes a week after , claimed by Islamic State, which targeted Shia Muslims in Kabul.
The capital has become one of the deadliest places in war-torn for civilians in recent months, as the Taliban step up attacks and Isis seeks to expand its presence in the country.
Last week’s assault came days after near an Afghan intelligence agency compound in the city, which was also claimed by Isis.
On 18 December, militants from the group stormed an intelligence training compound in Kabul, triggering an intense gunfight with police, two of whom were wounded.
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Security in Kabul has been ramped up since 31 May , when a truck bomb ripped through the diplomatic quarter, killing 150 people and wounding around 400 others – mostly civilians. No group has yet claimed that attack.
Despite the increased security measures, militants continue to carry out attacks.
On Wednesday, Afghanistan’s spy agency announced it had busted a 13-member Isis cell in Kabul that had been planning to carry out “a series of big terrorist attacks” in the city.
The Middle Eastern jihadist group has gained ground in Afghanistan since it first appeared in the region in 2015 and has scaled up its attacks in Kabul, including on security installations and the country’s Shia minority.