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Explosion near Ministry of Foreign Affairs building in Kabul

The explosion occurred on the same road – in front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs – as the January 11 suicide bombing claimed by ISKP.


27 Mar 2023

Cover image: Google Earth / Maxar Technologies, 2023 On March 27, an explosion occurred in central Kabul.  According to Amu News, a suicide bomber attempted to enter the road of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs near Malik Asghar intersection, Police District 2. According to sources cited by Amu News, the explosion allegedly occurred when Taliban officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Information and Culture were leaving. The cause of the explosion could not be independently verified at the time of writing.


AW investigators geolocated an image showing the aftermath of the explosion near Malik Asghar intersection, as well as  damage at the Dawoodzai Shopping Centre, which is adjacent to the intersection.

According to the Kabul police spokesperson, Khalid Zadran, the explosion was caused as Taliban security forces engaged the suicide bomber near a checkpoint at the Malik Asghar intersection. Zadran claimed the Taliban security forces targeted the attacker and as result of the subsequent explosion, “six civilians were killed and a number of people were injured”, including three Taliban fighters. The spokesperson of the interior ministry, Abdul Nafee Takkur, issued a similar statement about the incident.

AW's analysis of footage showing the aftermath of the explosion confirms Khalid Zadran's claims that the incident occurred near a checkpoint. The checkpoint is located in front of the Dawoodzai Shopping Centre, approximately 200 meters from the gate of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Emergency NGO, an organisation providing medical aid in Afghanistan,  claimed to have received

14 victims, including a child. The statement added that 12 of the victims were injured whilst two were dead on arrival. AW visually confirmed at least three [WARNING: GRAPHIC]  victims of the explosion.


Previous attack in front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The explosion occurred on the same road in front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as the January 11, 2023 suicide bombing claimed by ISKP, also targeting Ministry of Foreign Affairs workers. AW investigators visually confirmed at least 16 victims of the January attack. Amaq news, an Islamic State-affiliated news agency, claimed the attack, publishing an article with a photo of the alleged attacker.


Since May 2022, Afghanistan has seen a steady increase in more complex attacks on high-value targets, mostly claimed by ISKP. Within Kabul, ISKP has targeted ministries, mosques attended by senior Taliban figures, senior individuals associated with the Taliban, as well as attacks targeting foreign interests, apparently designed to undermine the Taliban’s relationships with key foreign partners, including China, Russia and Pakistan.


Update: The March 27 attack was later claimed by ISKP via Amaq news, an Islamic State central news agency. According to the statements released by ISKP, via their Telegram channel, Abdul-Hamid al-Khurasani killed and injured 20 people, including diplomats, in front of the Taliban's “foreign headquarters” in Kabul.

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