KABUL -- The "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) claimed responsibility Wednesday (January 11) for a suicide bombing in Kabul outside the Foreign Ministry that officials and witnesses said killed at least five people and wounded 40 others.
An ISIS member slipped by security barriers "before blowing up his explosive belt in the middle of employees and guards", Amaq, the propaganda agency of ISIS's Khorasan branch (ISIS-K), said on the Telegram messaging app.
An AFP team was conducting an interview next door when Wednesday's blast took place.
A company driver waiting outside saw a man holding a bag and with a rifle slung over his shoulder walk past before the man blew himself up.
"He passed by my car, and after a few seconds there was a loud blast," said Jamshed Karimi. "I saw the man blowing himself up."
Five civilians were killed, Kabul police spokesman Khalid Zadran said.
Italian nongovernmental organisation Emergency NGO, which operates a hospital in Kabul, said it received more than 40 wounded survivors.
"Casualty numbers are continuing to rise," Emergency said in a statement. "We have also set up beds in the kitchens and canteen."
The blast killed at least 20 people, "including several 'diplomatic' employees", claimed ISIS-K.
A Chinese delegation was expected at the Foreign Ministry Wednesday, according to a local official, but it was not yet clear if it was present at the time of the blast.
No foreigners were present when the suicide bomber struck, another official said.
Bodies lay strewn on the road in the aftermath outside the high-walled compound, a video verified by AFP showed.
Some wounded victims writhed on the ground, screaming for help, and a handful of onlookers scrambled to offer assistance.
The building did not appear to be badly damaged. Window panes in the Interior Ministry were also shattered by the explosion.
Tom West, the US special representative on Afghanistan, tweeted that diplomats "have seen reports of at least 20 dead and many more injured".
"This violence serves no purpose," he said.
The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) also condemned the attack.
"Rising insecurity is of grave concern," UNAMA tweeted. "Violence is not part of any solution to bring lasting peace to Afghanistan. Our condolences to the families affected."
UK Mission to Afghanistan Chargé d'Affaires Hugo Shorter in a tweet condemned the attack and said, "The UK rejects such senseless and indiscriminate acts of violence."
Attacks targeting foreigners
ISIS has claimed a string of attacks that have targeted foreigners or foreign interests in recent months.
At least five Chinese nationals were wounded last month when gunmen stormed a hotel popular with Chinese businesspeople in Kabul.
That raid was claimed by ISIS, which also took responsibility for an attack on Pakistan's embassy in Kabul in December that Islamabad denounced as an "assassination attempt" against its ambassador.
Neighbouring China is one of the few nations to maintain diplomatic ties with Kabul, with an eye on Afghanistan's ample mineral deposits and natural resources.
Last week Chinese Ambassador to Afghanistan Wang Yu announced a Chinese company's contract to extract Afghan oil, which many Afghan analysts decried as illegitimate and exploitative and said will not benefit Afghans.
In October, four people were killed and 25 wounded in an attack on a mosque on the grounds of the Interior Ministry in Kabul, with survivors reporting it was a suicide bombing.
And two Russian embassy staff members were killed in a suicide bombing outside their mission in September in another attack claimed by ISIS.
Hundreds of people, including members of Afghanistan's minority communities, have been killed and wounded in other attacks claimed by ISIS.
Now is the time for the United Nations and international humanitarian organizations to pay attention to the deaths of dozens of diplomats in Afghanistan who were injured and killed in an explosion in front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the killing of a member of the previous Wolesi Jirga, Mursal Nabizadeh. Investigate promptly and impartially. One after the other, such incidents show that it is a complete campaign against the civil and military officials of the overthrown republican system. Although the Taliban say in large and small gatherings and assemblies that they have brought peace to the entire country, this is wrong. And they are completely unable to take responsibility for peace. Therefore, the International Community should carry out urgent investigations to prevent further bloodshed and new crises. I was 50 meters away the day the explosion happened in front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. At the same time, gunshots were heard. People ran. I also changed my path, but the corpses of the people, the screams of the wounded, and the irregular movements of the Taliban soldiers, which are not in the military law, still disturb me. Although the Taliban announced their efforts to arrest the perpetrators of both incidents, their disorder and lack of discipline show that they cannot do it because the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is a part of the Green Zone. How will they prevent other incidents when bombs or suicide bombers reach?Reply
Amrullah Saleh, the first deputy of the ousted President of Afghanistan, Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, reacted to the accusations of the former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who considered President Ghani to be against peace. Saleh wrote in a series of tweets, "President Ghani really wanted peace, but behind the scenes, America decided to hand over Afghanistan to Rawalpindi to prepare for war in Ukraine." Amrullah Saleh accused America of violating humanity for its strategic interests, and now the then Minister of Foreign Affairs is exonerating himself with baseless stories and accusations. Dr. Wahid Majroh, former Minister of Public Health of Afghanistan and some other former officials have also expressed strong reactions to this American politician. Former US Secretary of State called Dr. Ghani a loser of 2019 elections, and said that he has stealth the elections from Dr. Abdullah which Mr. Ghani's supporters have denied.Reply
There is always an Islamic extremist group inside the city of Kabul, Afghanistan that threatens the peaceful life of the poor people. This year, ISIS terrorist group carried out several explosions in the provinces of Afghanistan and in the city of Kabul. The most dangerous explosion took place in Dasht-e-Barchi school on the day of the university entrance examination. Several students got martyred and another explosion occurred in front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. In this explosion, some of our brothers got martyred and 40 of our compatriots were injured. ISIS terrorist group cannot achieve its sinister goals in Afghanistan. Afghans hate ISIS and this group will never succeed in Afghanistan.Reply