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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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Nirmala Panta’s murder accused held after 24 days

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KANCHANPUR — Police in Kanchanpur have made public an accused arrested in connection with the murder of 13-year-old Nirmala Panta of Kanchanpur’s Bhimdatta Municipality.

Dilip Singh Bista, 41, of Baghphanta, Bhimdatta Municipality was made public at a press conference at the DPO. Bista was arrested on Saturday,according to the District Police Office Spokesperson Deputy Superintendent of Police Gyan Bahadur Sethi.

Nirmala was found dead in a sugarcane field on July 27, a day after she had gone to her friend’s home to get a notebook.

Bista,who was released from prison last year after serving nine years for murdering his brother-in-law Narayansingh Thapa, works as a daily-wage labourer.

According to Bista’s statement to police, he helped Nirmala fix her bicycle chain before raping and killing her on July 26. He told police that killed her to avoid being arrested again.

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