KABUL: At least 40 Kabul residents embraced martyrdom, and more than 38 others received injuries on Thursday in a suicide attack in a gathering inside a cultural center, officials said.
Interior Ministry deputy spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said at least 40 people had been killed and 30 wounded in the blast, the latest in a series to have hit media organizations in Kabul.
The attack occurred during a morning panel discussion at the centre, many of those attending students, witnesses said.
The attack occurred during a morning panel discussion on the 38th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Sunni-majority Afghanistan at the Tabian Social and Cultural Centre, with many of those attending students, witnesses said.
“There were two explosions. We still do not know the target of the attack, but Afghan Voice Agency is in the area of the attack,” interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish said.
He said five people had been killed and 21 injured, but added that the toll was likely to change.
AFP reporters near the scene of the blast heard a third explosion, suggesting the attack may still be under way.
A hospital official told local TV that 18 wounded had been brought to his facility.
“Five of the wounded are in critical condition and our doctors are working to save their lives,” Sabir Nasib, head of Istiqlal hospital, said.
A man in the vicinity of the attack said he heard a “big boom”.
“We do not know the numbers (of casualties). When the explosion happened we immediately fled,” he told Tolo News.
Photos posted on Afghan Voice Agency’s Facebook page showed the inside of a compound with debris and bodies lying on the ground.
Afghan media has previously been targeted by militants, underlying the risks faced by journalists in the war-torn country.
In November an attack on Afghan broadcaster Shamshad TV in Kabul, claimed by the Islamic State group, left at least one person dead and two dozen others wounded.
Daesh also claimed Monday’s attack on the National Directorate of Security spy agency in a statement via their Amaq propaganda arm.
Security in the city has been ramped up since May 31 when a massive truck bomb ripped through the diplomatic quarter, killing some 150 people and wounding around 400 others – mostly civilians.