Deadly explosion, gunfire hit Kabul near the fortified ‘Green Zone’ of the Afghan capital

A powerful explosion followed by sporadic gunfire struck the Afghan capital of Kabul on Tuesday near the heavily fortified “Green Zone,” an area home to government offices and foreign embassies, police officials said.

At least three people were killed and seven were injured, said Ghulam Dastagir Nazari, a spokesman for the health ministry, adding that the clashes continued.

A senior security official said the blast appeared to have been caused by a car bomb and the apparent target was the home of a member of parliament.

Two gunmen were still in the area and clashed with Afghan security forces, the official said. Several homes of Afghan officials, lawmakers and prominent residents were besieged during the ongoing fighting, residents said.

The city’s emergency hospital said in a tweet that it had received six injuries in the attack so far.

No group immediately claimed responsibility.

Minutes after the blast, hundreds of civilians in Kabul took to the streets and chanted Allahu Akbar (God is the Greatest) to show support for Afghan government forces and opposition to the Taliban.

The night march spread through the city with mostly men and a few women taking part in the demonstrations, holding candles and Afghan flags to signal united opposition to the hardline Islamist group.

“The whole world may choose to remain silent about what is going on in Afghanistan, but we cannot and will not remain silent any longer… we will stand by our security forces until our last breath,” said one protester. in Kabul on condition of anonymity.

Anti-Taliban protest in western Herat

Last week residents in western Herat braved the streets despite fighting nearby to protest the Taliban. Other cities quickly organized to sing-along from their homes at night as a show of support for the warring security forces.

Clashes between Afghan forces and the Taliban have intensified across the country, with the insurgent group gaining control over checkpoints, trading posts and infrastructure projects.

Afghan forces have urged residents of the southern city of Lashkargah to leave their homes and stay away from areas taken over by the Taliban as they plan to launch operations against the group.

The Taliban said their fighters in Kabul killed a district governor of the central province of Maidan Wardak on Tuesday, the latest in a series of assassinations by the insurgent group aimed at eliminating senior government officials and social activists.

(REUTERS)

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