(Photo Credit: AFP)
On 11 January, a large explosion near the Afghan foreign ministry in Kabul caused over 20 casualties, including at least three deaths and several injuries, according to Taliban reports.
The explosion was reportedly caused by a suicide bombing and occurred in front of the gate of the foreign ministry at around 4:00 pm, when employees were leaving their offices.
This took place as a Chinese delegation was due to meet with Taliban officials at the foreign ministry.
The Khorasan branch of ISIS – referred to as ISIS-K – has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Afghanistan’s Deputy Minister of Information and Culture Muhajer Farahi confirmed that “there was supposed to be a Chinese delegation at the Foreign Ministry today, but we don’t know if they were present at the time of the blast.”
The explosion occurred in a heavily fortified area surrounded by multiple checkpoints on a street that houses several ministries, including the Turkish and Chinese embassies.
Despite little information about the attack, the Russian news outlet Sputnik revealed that several locals heard gunshots in the distance.
In the aftermath of the attack, a video was shared on social media, showing the victims’ bodies outside of the compound of the national ministry, which was marked by the Taliban flag.
This development comes days after the Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman Nafi Takoor reported that a bomb exploded near a checkpoint at Kabul’s military airport on 1 January, which killed and injured several, marking the first terror attack in Afghanistan in 2023.
Tafor remarked that “unfortunately, the explosion has caused causalities.”
In November 2022, Takor reported that at least 15 children were killed in an explosion set off at the Al-Jihadi seminary in the country’s northern region.
Al-Jihadi is a religious institution for locals, 200 km north of Kabul, and reports indicated that most of the casualties were children. The interior minister spokesperson said that “all of them are children and ordinary people,” during an interview with AFP.
ISIS has been responsible for numerous attacks since the Taliban consolidated its power in August 2021.
On 22 October 2022, Taliban officials announced that they killed six ISIS members during an overnight operation in Kabul.
In August last year, ISIS claimed responsibility for attacking Shia communities in Kabul, resulting in eight deaths and wounding 18 others.
Since the withdrawal of US troops in August 2021, Afghanistan has witnessed a spike in attacks by Sunni militant groups, including ISIS, mainly targeting areas populated by the Shia Hazara minority.
The country has also faced a severe humanitarian crisis after Washington blocked it from accessing its foreign reserves, which amount to $7 billion, held by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The situation worsened after a major earthquake hit the war-torn nation earlier this year.