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Bomb attack rocks Afghan capital

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Afghan security forces arrive at the site of an explosion in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, July 1, 2019. A powerful bomb blast rocked the Afghan capital early Monday, rattling windows, sending smoke billowing from Kabul's downtown area, officials and a medic said.(AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

KABUL: A suicide bomber blew himself up on Thursday in the centre of Kabul, the Afghan capital, government officials said, with the blast rattling windows and doors in an area near embassies and government buildings.

The Taliban, who are in the midst of negotiating a pact with the United States, claimed responsibility.

“Ambulances and rescue teams are being rushed to the blast site,” Interior Ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said.

Video footage and photographs posted on social media showed several cars and small shops ripped apart and police cordoning off the road.

There has been no let-up in violence in Afghanistan even though Taliban and US officials have been making progress in negotiations aimed at securing a deal on a US troop withdrawal in exchange for Taliban security guarantees.

An Afghan security official told AFP there had been casualties, and that the blast took place near a checkpoint.

Massoud Zazai, who owns a photo studio across the street from the blast site, said he was in his shop when the explosion happened.

“I fell off my chair and it got dark inside the shop because of smoke and dust,” Zazai told AFP.

“I went out to the scene moments after the attack, the side of the road was littered with debris and bodies.”

Through the smoke, Zazai said he could hear injured people crying and calling for their mothers and brothers.

“I saw at last five very badly injured, one was covered in blood and not moving. It was horrifying.”