KABUL (Reuters) - Islamic State militants claimed responsibility for a suicide bomb attack on Wednesday near the Afghan Defence Ministry that killed at least five people.
A statement by the Afghan Interior Ministry reported several more people were wounded, while a Defence Ministry spokesman said at least one civilian and two members of the Afghan security forces were among the casualties, adding that the target appeared to be a police post near military headquarters.
Islamic State claimed responsibility in an online post.
A police officer at the scene told Reuters the attack appeared to have been carried out by a suicide bomber on foot. A Reuters witness reported seeing several damaged cars, with possible injuries to the occupants.
Last month, Islamic State fighters killed nearly 50 people when then stormed the main military hospital in Kabul.
Islamic State’s offshoot in Afghanistan, known as the Sunni jihadist group’s so-called Khorasan Province, is suspected of carrying out several attacks on minority Shi‘ite Muslim targets. U.S. officials say intelligence suggests Islamic State is based overwhelmingly in Nangarhar and neighbouring Kunar province.
Estimates of its strength in Afghanistan vary. U.S. officials have said they believe the movement has only 700 fighters but Afghan officials estimate it has about 1,500.
The Afghan Taliban, who are trying to overthrow the U.S.-backed government in Kabul, are fiercely opposed to Islamic State and the two have clashed as they seek to expand territory and influence.
Reporting by Mirwais Harooni in Kabul and Ahmed Tolba in Cairo; Editing by Alison Williams