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Deadly Suicide Blast Hits Afghan Ministry Staff


Afghan soldiers stand guard near the site of a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan, July 15, 2018.

A suicide blast claimed by the Islamic State Group killed at least seven people and wounded many others Sunday in Kabul, hours after a U.N. mid-year report warned Afghanistan suffered record levels of civilian casualties.

The bomber blew himself up in the main parking of the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development just when the staff were leaving work for the day, said a ministry spokesman. Faridon Azhand told VOA he expected the number of casualties to increase because the bomb went off in a crowded area.

Afghan media quoted witnesses as saying the attack might have been targeted at a vehicle packed with “foreigners,” but gave no other details.

A statement carried by the militant group's Amaq news agency claimed responsibility for the attack, which it said killed or wounded 60 people, including two foreigners.

Sunday’s bombing was the second attack targeting the ministry in just more than a month. A suicide bomber killed 17 people and wounded 40 others on June 11 as the victims were boarding buses to leave work for the day.

The latest violence comes as the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan released its latest civilian casualty report Sunday, noting the armed conflict killed nearly 1,700 civilians in the first six months of 2018, the most fatalities in the past decade.

The report said a majority of the casualties occurred in Kabul and in the eastern Nangarhar province, blaming Islamic State for plotting the bloodshed.