Gunmen set off at least three explosions in the Afghan capital, Kabul, and then battled security forces from buildings they occupied in the latest in a spate of violence to rock the city.
At least six people were wounded, said health ministry spokesman Wahidullah Majroh, adding that the casualty toll was likely to rise, according to the Reuters news agency.
Afghanistan’s Western-backed government is fighting an intensifying war with both the Taliban and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, known as ISIS) that has turned much of Kabul into a high-security zone of concrete blast walls and razor wire.
ISIL claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s attack. It said the attack occurred in Kabul’s western Dasht-e-Barchi district but gave no details on any casualties.
The first blast was near a police station in Dasht-e-Barchi district at midday, said police spokesman Hashmat Stanekzai.
Minutes later, two back-to-back explosions went off in the central Shar-e-Naw commercial district.
Clashes going on
Najib Danish, spokesman for the interior ministry, said police were battling an unknown number of gunmen in both Dasht-e-Barchi and Shar-e-Naw, Reuters said.
“A number of gunmen at both sites under attack are engaged with the security forces,” Danish said.
“At both sites, the insurgents took positions in nearby buildings.”
There has been no claim of responsibility.
Noor Mohammad, a security guard at a private bank in Shar-e-Naw, said one blast went off near the office of a travel agency that processes visa applications for India.
The Afghan capital has seen an increase in bombings and other attacks against security forces and civilians since the Taliban announced the beginning of their spring offensive on April 25.
Fighting traditionally picks up in Afghanistan as warmer weather melts snow in mountain passes, allowing fighters to move around more easily.
Twin suicide bombings claimed by ISIL last week killed at least 25 people, including 10 journalists who had rushed to the scene of the first attack. This was the deadliest assault on reporters since the fall of the Taliban in 2001.
SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies