At least five people were killed in a suicide attack near the Afghan foreign ministry on Wednesday, police said. Dozens more people were injured.

The Italian non-governmental organization Emergency NGO announced that more than 40 wounded were admitted to the hospital it runs in the capital Kabul after a suicide attack near the Afghan foreign ministry. According to the police, five people were dead. The jihadist militia Islamic State (IS), which is hostile to the Taliban in Afghanistan, claimed responsibility for the attack.

An IS member managed to get past the Taliban’s security barriers, reported Amak, the bulletin of the regional IS group, via the online service Telegram. The IS member then blew himself up with “his explosive belt amidst employees and security guards”. According to police spokesman Chalid, there was an explosion “on the road to the Foreign Ministry”. Five civilians were killed and “a number of others injured”. He announced that those responsible for the crime would be “found and punished.

The radical Islamic Taliban claim to have improved the security situation in the country since they returned to power in August 2021. However, since then there have been a large number of bomb blasts and attacks. The Afghan branch of IS claimed responsibility for most of them.

A team from the AFP news agency was conducting an interview at the neighboring Ministry of Information at the time of the attack. Driver Jamshed Karimi was waiting in the car when he saw a man with a backpack and a Kalashnikov rifle over his shoulder. “He passed my car and after a few seconds there was a loud explosion,” Karimi said. He saw a man “blow himself up.”

Karimi spoke of 20 to 25 victims. He does not know how many of these victims are dead and how many are injured. Emergency NGO said the death toll continued to mount to such an extent that beds were also set up in the hospital’s kitchen and canteen. US special envoy for Afghanistan Tom West wrote on Twitter that diplomats had received “reports of at least 20 dead and many others injured.” “This violence serves no purpose,” West explained.

Pictures from the scene showed bodies lying in the snow on the street in front of the building in the city center. The State Department building did not appear to be badly damaged. “A suicide bomber attempted to enter the ministry but failed in his objective and was spotted by security forces and blew himself up,” wrote Deputy Director-General for Public and Strategic Affairs Ahmadullah Muttaki.

According to Deputy Information Minister Muhadscher Farahi, a visit by a Chinese delegation to the Foreign Ministry was planned for Wednesday. “We don’t know if they were there at the time of the explosion,” he told AFP. According to Muttakis, there were no foreigners in the ministry at the time of the attack.

On December 12, IS fighters carried out an attack on a hotel in Kabul frequented by Chinese. Several people died as a result. At least five Chinese were injured.