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 At Least 43 People Killed After Militants Storm Government Building in Kabul 


Afghan security forces arrive at the site of an explosion and attack by gunmen, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Dec. 24, 2018.

An Afghan government spokesman says 43 people were killed when gunmen stormed a government building in Kabul Monday.

The attack began in the afternoon when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives-packed car outside the building, which houses several agencies, includng the department for people with disabilities and war veterans. Once the entrance was breached, the gunman rushed inside and began a furious standoff with police that lasted for seven hours.

Health Ministry spokesman Waheed Majro says at least 10 people were wounded in the attack. One policeman and three other militants were killed during the siege.

Officials said more than 200 employees of the department were safely evacuated after the attack started. Other key buildings and departments are also located in the same eastern Kabul neighborhood where the violence erupted.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility for Monday's attack. Taliban insurgents and Islamic State militants have both taken credit for plotting previous attacks in Kabul.

The attack comes just days after U.S. President Donald Trump announced plans to withdraw half of the 14,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan.