Deadly blast hits embassy district in Afghan capital

The Afghan interior ministry and police confirmed there was an explosion in the heavily fortified area but could not immediately provide further details

The attack took place about 500 meters (yards) from the American Embassy, but there were no reports of foreigners killed or wounded.

In a statement, Defense Ministry spokesman Maj.

"We don't know the target but it happened a few metres from the defence ministry's foreign relations office".

Afghan and Western security officials have said in recent days that they expected more attacks in Kabul in response to pressure being exerted on the Taliban and other insurgent groups by increased USA air strikes.

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"There were a number of dead bodies and wounded victims lying around", said Ghulam Hazrat, who witnessed the attack. "No casualties to our personnel".

Many injured people were carried from the scene of the blast, put into ambulances and police pickup trucks and driven away. Gen. Dawlat Waziri said: "At around 4 p.m. a suicide attack took place close to the worldwide affairs office of the Ministry of Defense".

The attack struck the heart of the city's diplomatic area, where many embassies and the head offices of major global organizations including NATO's Resolute Support mission are located. According to the television channel, a suicide bomber blew himself up in Kabul's diplomatic quarters Wazir Akbar Khan.

Last week a suicide bomber detonated his explosives-laden care near the Afghan military academy in the capital city, killing 15 cadets and wounding several others.

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