Multiple casualties in suicide attack near Afghan ministry in Kabul

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KABUL, July 15: A suicide bomber blew himself up in front of a government ministry in Kabul on Sunday, killing or wounding at least 10 people, police said, in the latest deadly violence in Afghanistan.
The explosion happened at the rural rehabilitation and development ministry around 4:30 pm, police spokesman Hashmat Stanikzai told AFP.
Ministry spokesman Fraidoon Azhand said the bomber struck at a security gate as employees were exiting the compound to go home.
He said six people were killed and 12 were wounded, most of them ministry workers. Those figures could not be immediately confirmed.
It is the second time in just over a month that the ministry has been targeted by terrorists.
On June 11 a suicide bomber blew himself up as ministry workers queued for an early bus home during the holy month of Ramadan, killing at least 13 people and wounding 31.
The ISIS claimed responsibility for that attack.
Sunday’s blast comes as a UN report shows a record number of civilians were killed in the first six months of 2018, with terrorist attacks and suicide bombs the leading causes of death.
The toll of 1,692 fatalities was one percent more than a year earlier and the highest for the period since the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) began keeping records in 2009.
Another 3,430 people were wounded in the war, down five percent from the same period last year, the report said.
The record high death toll came despite an unprecedented ceasefire by Afghan security forces and the Taliban last month that was largely respected by both sides, UNAMA said.
The ceasefire for the first three days of Eid was marked by scenes of jubilation as security forces and Taliban fighters celebrated the Islamic holiday, raising hopes that peace was possible after nearly 17 years of conflict.
But the suspension of hostilities was marred by two suicide attacks in the eastern province of Nangarhar that killed dozens of people and were claimed by ISIS, which was not part of the ceasefire. (AFP)