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Suicide Bomb Attack Rocks Afghan Capital

  • Benjamin Sand

A suicide bomber in Kabul has killed at least 12 people - including a young child - and injured around 50, one of the worst acts of insurgent violence to hit the Afghan capital since the Taleban government was driven from office in 2001.

The attack occurred just outside the Interior Ministry in the Afghan capital Saturday morning.

The ministry's spokesman, Zemeri Bashary, was inside the building during the attack. He says the bomber was apparently targeting a security checkpoint outside the ministry.

"He wanted to enter the crowd that was waiting in front of the compound. Our police warned him to stop, and suddenly the suicide bomber blew himself up," he said.

The blast shook the entire building and destroyed several nearby shops.

Local police sealed the area as ambulances ferried the dead and injured to several nearby hospitals.

This is the fifth bomb attack this month alone in the capital, which just one year ago was a relatively safe environment. The bombing comes as security deteriorates throughout the country. So far this year, NATO officials say there have been 56 suicide attacks in areas under their command.

In southern Afghanistan, the Taleban's traditional stronghold, insurgents are able to operate freely, despite a major NATO-led counter-insurgency operation earlier this month.

A suicide bombing outside the governor's compound in the southern province of Helmand earlier this week killed 18 people.

In eastern Afghanistan, where U.S. forces have been leading operations, military officials report a threefold increase in insurgent attacks earlier this week.

On Thursday, NATO agreed to take over security operations for the entire country next month.

The United States will transfer 12,000 troops to the NATO command, which has acknowledged that it may have underestimated the Taleban insurgency.