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Death toll in Kabul explosion, gunfight more than doubles to 64

By Andrew V. Pestano
Death toll in Kabul explosion, gunfight more than doubles to 64
Afghanistan's capital of Kabul has hosted increased violence since the Taliban was removed from power in 2001, when a U.S.-led coalition invasion toppled the regime. A Taliban attack on Kabul on Tuesday killed at least 64 people. File photo by Enayat Asadi/UPI | License Photo

KABUL, Afghanistan, April 20 (UPI) -- Afghanistan's Interior Ministry on Wednesday said the death toll from a Taliban attack on Kabul has risen to 64 people killed -- up from 28 -- and 347 injured.

"It is with regret to announce that 64 innocent Afghans were killed and 347 more wounded in yesterday's [Kabul] terrorist attack, Sediq Sediqqi, spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said in a tweet.

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Tuesday's attack is the deadliest in Kabul since 2011, when 71 Shia worshippers were killed in an attack targeting a shrine.

The recent attack came one week after the Taliban warned of large-scale attacks -- launching a "spring offensive." Sediqqi said most wounded were in stable condition.

Afghanistan's main security agency appeared to be the target, President Ashraf Ghani said, also condemning the attack "in the strongest possible terms."

"Such cowardly terrorist attacks will not weaken the will and determination of Afghan security forces to fight against terrorism," a presidential palace statement read.

A suicide bomber detonated a car bomb at the Pul-e-Mahmud residential neighborhood near the Ministry of Defense, military compounds and other buildings during morning rush hour before gunmen stormed the area, Sediqqi said. After a gunfight, the area was cleared by Afghan security forces.

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