Blast followed by gunfire reported in Afghan capital

An explosion followed by gunfire was reported in the center of the Afghan capital Kabul on Saturday, close to one of the city’s main hotels and the ministry of communications and information technology, a police spokesman said.

There was no immediate word on the cause of the blast or of any casualties in one of the main commercial areas of the city.

Interior Ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi confirmed gunfire around the ministry but had no further details.

The explosion was also close to the heavily fortified Serena Hotel, one of the very few hotels still used by foreign visitors, in one of the main commercial areas of the city.

While heavy fighting has carried on across Afghanistan and Taliban militants have announced their now customary spring offensive, there have been no large scale attacks on civilian targets in Kabul in recent weeks.

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