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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 21 June 2018

At least 21 killed in spate of attacks in Afghanistan

Suicide bomber targeting employees at ministry in Kabul left 12 dead

Afghan security personnel arrive at the site of an attack in the city of Jalalabad, east of Kabul, on June 11, 2018. Mohammad Anwar Danishyar / AP Photo
Afghan security personnel arrive at the site of an attack in the city of Jalalabad, east of Kabul, on June 11, 2018. Mohammad Anwar Danishyar / AP Photo

At least 21 people were killed and dozens injured in attacks across Afghanistan on Monday, just days before a government and Taliban ceasefire for Eid Al Fitr.

Twelve people were killed when a suicide bomber struck outside the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development in Kabul as employees were leaving for Ramadan, the health ministry said. ISIS claimed responsibility for the blast on its self-styled news agency Amaq.

The attack took place outside the ministry's main gate at about 1pm as employees were leaving early for Ramadan.

"I was in my office when I heard a big blast," an employee told Agence France-Presse. "Most of my colleagues were leaving for the day to go home. I am worried about my colleagues. We are told to stay inside for now."

In Ghazni province, six people including women and children were killed when a roadside bomb struck a minibus.

Three people were wounded, said Arif Noori, a spokesman for the governor of the eastern province.

He said the bomb was planted by the Taliban. The militants mostly target security forces and government officials, but their roadside bombs often kill civilians.

Elsewhere in Ghazni, at least three local police and 10 Taliban fighters were killed in clashes, Mr Noori said.

The Taliban have declared a three-day ceasefire to coincide with the Eid Al Fitr holiday, which is expected to begin on Friday.

Elsewhere in Afghanistan, a suicide bomber wounded at least 10 civilians when he struck near the education department in the eastern city of Jalalabad, said Attahullah Khogyani, spokesman for the provincial governor of Nangarhar province. He said three other suicide bombers were shot and killed by security forces as they tried to enter the building. A vehicle filled with explosives was found near the scene of the attack.

In a separate attack in the same province, a sticky bomb wounded 14 civilians in the Chaparhar district, according to hospital spokesman Inamullah Miakhail.

Gen Ghulam Sanayee Stanekzai, provincial police chief in Nangarhar, said the bomb went off in a market.

No one claimed responsibility for either attack. The Taliban and ISIS-affiliated militants are active in eastern Afghanistan, especially Nangarhar.

With reporting from Agence France-Presse and Associated Press