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Suicide Blast, Attacks Kill Dozens In Afghanistan

Afghan security forces keep watch at a check point near the site of a suicide attack in Kabul on February 24.

Afghan officials said a suicide bomber has killed two security personnel and wounded seven in an attack in the diplomatic area of Afghanistan's capital, Kabul.

The Islamic State (IS) group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish said the attack occurred around 8:15 a.m. local time on February 24 in the Shash Darak area of Kabul, near NATO headquarters and not far from the U.S. Embassy.

Also near the site of the bombing is an Afghan spy agency facility, officials said. In December, a suicide attacker on foot blew himself up near the same compound, killing at least six civilians.

In a statement posted on February 24 on the website of its news agency Aamaq, IS said the attack was carried out by a bomber with an explosive vest and targeted the gate of the headquarters of the Afghan intelligence service.

Meanwhile, 18 soldiers were killed in a Taliban attack in western Afghanistan, the Afghan Defense Ministry said on February 24.

Khair Mohammad Noorzai, a provincial council member from the western Farah province, put the death toll at 25. Noorzai said militants attacked a checkpoint in Bala Buluk district of Farah late on February 23 with the attack continuing into the morning of February 24.

In separate attacks in the southern Helmand province, two suicide car bombs killed at least two soldiers and wounded more than a dozen others, officials said.

In the southern Helmand province, at least three people were killed and 17 others were wounded in two attacks in the capital city of Lashkar Gah and Nad Ali district, according to provincial officials.

Militants including the Taliban and the IS group have stepped up their attacks on Afghan troops and police in recent months.

Afghan soldiers have taken what the UN describes as "shocking" casualties since international forces ended their combat role at the end of 2014, though troop casualty figures are no longer released.

With reporting by AP, AFP, and dpa