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Blasts near Spanish embassy in Kabul

“It was an attack against some guesthouses very near the embassy”, Rajoy said, adding that all embassy staff had been evacuated as Afghan special forces cordoned off the area in Sherpur district in central Kabul.

“A group of suicide bombers attacked a guest house… one of the bombers detonated an explosives-laden vehicle at the gate and opened the way to other attackers”, the interior ministry said.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy called the assaults in Kabul’s Sherpoor district a terrorist attack, telling reporters that it appeared to have targeted guesthouses near the Embassy.

Police officers closed off the area to civilians after the attack, which was claimed by the Taliban. There are at least two compounds run by the Spanish embassy in the area of the attack, including the ambassador’s residence and its intelligence agency, and it was not possible to reach the site of the attack.

Nine civilians and one Afghan policeman were wounded, Mujahid said.

Residents of the city said that security forces searched houses and dragged out people and shot them, some with their hands tied behind their backs. “Unfortunately four policemen were martyred in the attack“. At least three fighters appeared to be involved in the attack, a police official told Reuters.

Gunfire could be heard following the explosion.

Kabul police chief Abdul Rahman Rahimi said: “The operation took time because we wanted to rescue the people trapped in surrounding buildings and we had to move cautiously and in a proper tactical manner”.

The auto bomb sent a thick plume of smoke over the diplomatic quarter, followed through the night by multiple blasts and sporadic bursts of gunfire.

The Taliban said it was responsible for the attack.

The responsibility for the massive explosion that rocked buildings in the area on Friday had immediately been claimed by the Taliban.

In Washington, State Department spokesman John Kirby said despite the violence, the United States believes it must continue to work for a reconciliation between all parties in Afghanistan.

The latest attacks come after President Ghani visited Pakistan for the Heart of Asia summit where the US, Pakistan and Afghanistan agreed to restart peace talks with the Taliban.

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