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ISIS claims responsibility for deadly assault on Afghan ministry

Kabul in 2013. (Masoud Akbari/Wikimedia Commons)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

The Islamic State (IS) extremist group has claimed responsibility for an attack on an Afghan government building that killed at least seven people on April 20.

According to a statement published by the militant group’s Amaq news agency on April 21, the assault on the Communications Ministry headquarters in downtown Kabul was carried out by four IS followers.

The Afghan affiliate of IS, sometimes known as Islamic State Khorasan, has been active in the war-torn country since 2015, fighting the Taliban as well as Afghan and U.S. forces.

Afghan officials said the attack on the ministry began with an explosion at the entrance of the building in a busy commercial area of the city, followed by gunfire.

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Police said a bomber blew himself up outside the ministry, clearing the way for the other attackers to enter the building and the heavily guarded government compound in central Kabul.

Nasart Rahimi, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said four civilians and three soldiers were killed during the attack, which lasted several hours. Eight civilians were wounded, he said.

Rahimi said the security operation ended “after all four attackers were shot and killed by Afghan security forces.”

Police also shot and killed four other militants before they could reach their target of the nearby central post office, Rahimi said.

The official said some 2,700 government employees and civilians were rescued by security forces after being stuck in several government buildings.