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Islamic State claims responsibility for Kabul attack that killed 5 people

Updated January 12, 2023 at 12:24 PM ET

KABUL, Afghanistan — The Islamic State group claimed responsibility Thursday for a deadly bombing that killed at least five people near the Foreign Ministry in the Afghan capital the previous day.

The bombing was the second major attack in Kabul in 2023 and drew condemnation from the international community.

The extremist group said in a statement that a "martyrdom-seeker" it identified as Kheiber al-Qandahari detonated his explosive vest amidst a gathering of ministry employees and guards as they left through the ministry's main gate.

There was no immediate response from Afghanistan's Taliban rulers about the IS claim. Kabul police chief spokesman Khalid Zadran said Wednesday that the explosion killed five civilians and that "a number of others were wounded" near the ministry.

The IS news outlet Aamaq said the attack coincided with a ministry training course for diplomats.

The extremists have increased their assaults since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in 2021. Targets have included Taliban patrols and members of the country's Shiite minority.

After Wednesday's attack, more than 40 wounded people were brought to a surgical center in Kabul run by Emergency NGO, a humanitarian organization. Stefano Sozza, Emergency's director in Afghanistan, said at the time that he expected the number of casualties to rise.

The attack drew condemnation from the United Nations and various countries. In a statement Wednesday, Pakistan said it stood in solidarity with Afghans in the fight against militants.

China Thursday said that none of its citizens were killed or injured in the attack, following reports that a visiting delegation was due at the ministry.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a press briefing: "We hope Afghanistan will take strong measures to effectively protect the safety of all sides' personnel and institutions in Afghanistan, including those from China."

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

The Associated Press