Kabul: Several casualties are feared after a powerful explosion ripped through central Kabul during morning rush hour Tuesday, a week after the Taliban announced the start of its annual spring offensive.
The Taliban has claimed responsibility, an Afghan official said, adding that the attack may have been caused by a suicide bomber. The blast struck a densely packed neighbourhood close to several military compounds, police told AFP.
The target of the attack is not known, but the Ministry of Defense and one of the country’s intelligence service’s offices are near the blast site, Reuters reported. The attack comes even as the government in Kabul seeks to bring the insurgents back to the negotiating table to end their drawn-out conflict.
The Taliban warned they would “employ large-scale attacks on enemy positions across the country” during the offensive dubbed Operation Omari in honour of the movement’s late founder Mullah Omar, whose death was announced last year.
The annual spring offensive normally marks the start of the “fighting season”, though this winter the lull was shorter and they continued to battle government forces albeit with less intensity.