Kabul: At least 25 people, including eight journalists, were killed in a coordinated double suicide bombing in the Afghan capital on Monday, according to government officials. The Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility for the attack.
A militant on a motorbike carried out the first explosion at 8 a.m. in the Shashdarak area in Police District 9 which houses the offices of Afghanistan's intelligence service, the Defence Ministry, NATO and a number of foreign embassies, prompting journalists to rush to the scene, the Afghan media reported.
A second explosion took place about 20 minutes later as a second attacker, disguised as a cameraman, detonated explosives at the site of the initial blast, targeting journalists and rescue workers at the scene, said Kabul police chief Daoud Amin.
Eight journalists and four police officers were among the dead, Interior Ministry spokesperson Najib Danish told the BBC. French news agency Agence France Presse confirmed that its photographer Shah Marai was among the dead.
Forty-nine people were injured in the two explosions and were taken to hospitals, Tolo News cited the Interior Ministry as saying.
The Islamic State claimed the bombings in a statement released through its news agency Amaq. The militant group said the intelligence services headquarters had been the target.
Afghan President Asharf Ghani condemned the twin blasts. "Attacks targeting innocent civilians, worshippers inside the mosques, national and democratic processes, reporters and freedom of speech all are war crimes," according to a statement released by the Presidential Palace.
US Ambassador John Bass tweeted: "I condemn today's terrible Kabul attack (and) reaffirm our commitment (to) stand with the Afghan people in their fight for peace (and) security across Afghanistan. We mourn for those murdered, including the brave journalists who stand for truth in the face of violence."
Afghanistan has seen a spate of attacks this year. Last week, six people, including two Afghan soldiers, were killed when a car bomb exploded in Afghanistan's Helmand province.
On April 22, an Islamic State suicide bomber attacked a voter registration centre in Kabul, killing 60 people.
In March, 31 people were killed during the Persian new year celebrations in an Islamic State attack near a Shia shrine in Kabul.
At least seven people were killed and 20 others injured in two explosions on Monday in central Kabul which hosts the NATO headquarters and offices of several international non-profits.
Spokesperson for the Ministry of Public Health Wahidullah Majroh confirmed the toll to Efe news.
A police official told Efe that a suicide bomber detonated the first bomb on his motorcycle at 8 a.m., in the Shash Darak area in Police District 9.
Kabul Police chief Dawood Amin said the second detonation followed after about half an hour. It took place near a group of journalists who had gathered to cover the first explosion.
"Initial information suggest the second blast was also a suicide bomber, who disguised himself as a journalist having a camera in hand to access the area," Stanekzai said.
"The bomber/attacker blew himself up among journalists and civilians who had gathered near the area of the first explosion."
It is not yet clear what was targeted in the bombing in Shash Darak where an office complex of the Afghan intelligence agency, the National Directorate of Security, the NATO headquarters and several international nonprofits are located.
Last week, the Taliban rejected the Afghan government's dialogue offer proposed in late February and announced the start of its new spring military offensive.