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Explosion at foreign guesthouse in Kabul, Taliban claims responsibility

India TV News Desk Kabul 01 Aug 2016, 8:23:34 AM IST
India TV News Desk

A strong explosion shook a guesthouse housing foreigners in Kabul early today after a truck packed with explosives struck it, officials said.

The blast has happened just days after the deadliest attack in the Afghan capital for 15 years.

"A truck packed with explosives struck the entrance of Northgate guesthouse," the source told AFP

Gul Agha Rohani, Kabul's deputy chief of police, said the explosion happened east of the city's international airport.

Rohani named the Northgate Hotel, which houses international contractors, without further details.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack but there were no immediate reports of casualties.

An email message from Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the insurgents had attacked that hotel.

The message to media outlets said the hotel was targeted by a truck bomb and casualties were high. The Taliban regularly exaggerates the impact of attacks.

The guesthouse, which was cordoned off by security officials, was not immediately reachable by telephone. The Taliban said the truck bomb at a guest house belonging to "American invaders" paved the way for their fighters to enter the facility with rocket-propelled grenades and small arms.

A man who answered the phone at the hotel said there had been a large explosion at the facility.

"We have 100 percent accountability," he said, before cutting the line.

Foreign guesthouses have been a regular target of insurgent attacks since the Taliban began their war to topple the Kabul government.

The Northgate is typical of many pre-fabricated compounds that offer secure accommodation to foreign workers. It is near the Bagram Air Base and has been attacked by insurgents at least once before, in July 2013.

Monday's blast follows a suicide attack on a peaceful demonstration on July 23 that killed more than 80 people and wounded hundreds.

That attack was claimed by the Islamic State group, its first in the Afghan capital and the biggest in Kabul since the Taliban launched their insurgency in 2001.

The interior and defense ministries were not immediately available for comment.