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Explosion and gunfire rock Kabul

08 May 2019 Al Jazeera

An explosion and gunfire rocked Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, on Wednesday, but it was not clear if there were any casualties.

Nusrat Rahimi, a spokesman for Ministry of Interior Affairs, said the target of the attack was Counterpart International, an international organisation which is operating in Afghanistan since 2005. 

He said gunfight is ongoing in the area.

The organisation is located near the Attorney General’s Office in Shahr-e-Naw area in the center of Kabul city. 

"I can confirm an explosion in the Shar-e-Naw area of Kabul. We are checking the details," Ferdaws Framurz, a spokesperson for the city's police force, said.

A health ministry spokesman, Wahidullah Mayar, said nine wounded people had been taken to hospital. 

Qais Zaman, a witness, said the area was cordoned off as ambulances and police vehicles rushed to the scene.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

The blast comes just over two weeks after gunmen targeted the communications ministry in central Kabul, killing at least seven people. That attack was claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, or ISIS) group.

The United States and Taliban representatives continue negotiations in Qatar aimed at bringing an end to the nearly 18-year conflict.

The talks follow a peace summit in Kabul last week where President Ashraf Ghani offered the Taliban a ceasefire to begin on the first day of Ramadan, but the armed group refused.

Last year the Taliban announced a three-day ceasefire at the end of Ramadan after Ghani declared a unilateral truce for eight days earlier in the month.

It was first formal nationwide ceasefire since the US-led invasion of 2001 and saw unprecedented scenes of reconciliation and jubilation across the country.

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