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Huge blast rocks Kabul near US embassy, several feared dead

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KABUL — A huge blast rocked central Kabul on Tuesday and a thick plume of black smoke could be seen rising from near several Afghan government ministries and security agencies, as well as the US embassy in the capital, witnesses and officials said.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said that number of individuals were killed and injured in an blast that rocked central Kabul during the morning rush hour.

According to Afghan media, no less than 24 people were killed and 161 injured in the blast that clearly targeted on the workplaces of Afghanistan`s main security office.

A spokesperson for an emergency hospital in the city said the facility had received eight lightly wounded Afghan soldiers.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which sent clouds of acrid smoke billowing in the sky and rattled windows several miles away.

Notably, the blast took place a week after the Taliban announced the commencement of their annual spring offensive.

“The first blast was carried out by a suicide bomber in a car and possibly one or two bombers are still resisting,” Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi told AFP.

“The scene of the attack has been completely cordoned off by Afghan security forces.”

Kabul police also reported some gunfire in the area immediately after the blast, which happened during the morning rush hour.

Several major Afghan security agencies are based in the area, including the National Directorate of Security.

The Ministry of Defence and the presidential palace are also within a few hundred metres.

The Taliban-led insurgency has gained strength since the withdrawal of international forces from combat at the end of 2014 and the Taliban are stronger than at any point since they were driven from power by U.S.-backed forces in 2001.The U.S. embassy said it was not affected by the blast.

With Agencies input

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PM congratulates Nepali national cricket team

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KATHMANDU— Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has congratulated Nepali national cricket team for being able to clinch the International T20 series.

PM Oli in a tweet extended best wishes and congratulations saying he was very happy to know Nepal’s win over the UAE by 14 runs in the third match of the series.

Winning T20 series is another landmark success for Nepali cricket, he said, adding, “It is big achievement for Nepal’s cricket. I would like to heartily congratulate entire members of Nepali cricket squad”.

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