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28 killed, 320 injured as Taliban bomber attacks security office in Kabul

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KABUL — At least 28 people have been killed and more than 320 injured in a suicide bombing and attack by gunmen, claimed by the Taliban, in the Afghan capital on Tuesday, the Health Ministry said.

Civilian and members from the Afghan security forces were among those caught in the attack and casualty estimates are expected to rise, ministry spokesman Ismail Kawosi said.

The attack was aimed at a building that houses a security service that provides protection for government officials.

President Ashraf Ghani condemned the attack “in the strongest possible terms” in a statement from the presidential palace, only a few hundred metres away from the scene of the blast.

Several people were killed and wounded in the blast, which struck at the height of the morning peak hour, the palace said.

Gunfire rang out for more than 30 minutes after the blast, according to Reuters witnesses at the scene.

Pictures showed windows blown out at the front of an office that houses a National Directorate of Security (NDS) unit.

The U.S. embassy said it was not affected by the blast.

The NATO-led force also said it was unaffected.

The Taliban said on their Pashto-language website that they had carried out the suicide bombing on “Department 10”, an NDS unit, which is responsible for protecting government ministers and VIPs.

They said a suicide car bomber blew up the main gate at the front of the office, allowing other fighters, including more suicide bombers, to enter the heavily guarded compound.

Agencies

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2 Nepalis in Lhasa jail for smuggling gold

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RASUWA — Two Nepali youths are reported to be in a jail in Lhasa of China, on the charge of their involvement in gold smuggling.

Gyal Dorje Tamang of Gosaikunda Rural Municipality-5 in Rasuwa and Bikash Waiba of Hakubesi of Aamachhodongmo Rural Municipality were detained in Chinese territory by the customs department informers of the Tibet government around a month ago as they were about to enter Nepal on a truck bearing the Nepali number plate.

The Chinese side confiscated nine pieces of precious yellow metal from the two, Rasuwa District Police Office quoted the Nepal Consulate General Office in Lhasa as saying.

According to Rasuwa DPO’s Inspector of Police Dhruba Silwal, further details regarding the case are awaited.

It may be noted that the Chinese side has already started implementing the proposal floated by the Nepali side during the past border-security meetings to increase its surveillance in such illegal affairs bearing in mind increasing smuggling of gold into Nepali territory via China, as Silwal said.

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