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Explosions Kill At Least 21 Near Spy Agency In Kabul


Afghan men carry a wounded man after the second blast in Kabul on April 30

Two explosions have rocked central Kabul near the country’s intelligence agency, killing at least 21 people, including a journalist for the French news agency AFP, Afghan officials say.

Health Ministry officials on April 30 said a suicide bomber on a motorcycle blew himself up in the Shash Darak area near buildings of the NDS intelligence service.

A second blast followed about 20 minutes later when a suicide bomber pretending to be a reporter blew himself up outside the headquarters of the Urban Development and Housing Ministry as people were entering the government office to begin their work day.

The ministry said at least 21 people have been found dead while 27 wounded were taken to local hospitals, though they fear the number of casualties from the twin attacks may continue to rise.

AFP has identified Shah Marai, the chief photographer for the agency in Kabul, as the journalist killed in the blast.

AP quoted police officer Jan Agha as saying that two police officers were injured in the explosions.

Officials said there has been no immediate claim of responsibility for the blasts, which come days after the Taliban kicked off an offensive in an apparent rejection of calls for the militants to accept an offer by the Afghan government to hold peace talks.

The incident also comes about one week after a suicide blast killed 60 people and wounded at least 120 outside a voter-registration center in the capital.

The Islamic State (IS) militant group claimed responsibility for the April 22 attack in Dashte Barchi, a heavily Shi'a-populated area in western Kabul, through its Amaq news agency.

The Sunni group has frequently targeted Afghanistan’s Shi'ite minority, which they view as “apostates.”

The government in Kabul is also battling Taliban militants, who were driven from power by the U.S.-led invasion 17 years ago.

Hundreds of people have died in several attacks in Kabul since the beginning of the year, despite the offer to the Taliban of peace talks "without preconditions" by President Ashraf Ghani.

With reporting by Reuters, AFP, Tolo News, dpa, and AP

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