Islamic State claims responsibility for deadly attack on Afghan ministry: Amaq

Ministry building under attack in Kabul

After nearly five hours of fighting, security forces killed the remaining four attackers, Mojahid said. Daesh has claimed responsibility for the attack in Kabul.

He said as many as 2,700 government employees and civilians were rescued by security forces after being stuck in several government buildings including the central post office.

Security forces managed to evacuate the 18-story building while militants continued their fighting against security forces.

"We grabbed the children together into the safe room and just waited till the security forces arrived", she said. Then gunfire which could be heard over a mile away broke out.

The attack began when a suicide bomber detonated explosives just outside the communications ministry, Mojahid said.

Live footage on local TV showed government employees fleeing neighbouring Information and Culture Ministry buildings, with some climbing out of windows.

Afghan president Ashraf Ghani strongly condemned the attack in a statement, saying the enemies of Afghanistan, by targeting civil servants, are trying to create terror among the people.

"Once again they have created fear and have killed or wounded a number of innocent countrymen", the statement read.

The communication ministry is located in downtown Kabul, about 1.25 miles from the green zone.

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

The operation marked a return to the kind of complex attacks in an urban center that have killed hundreds of people in Kabul and other Afghan cities over recent years.

Past year however saw a string of attacks including one where a massive bomb concealed in an ambulance killed more than 100 people.

It illustrates the sprawling nature of Afghanistan's conflict, and the obstacles to peace even if a deal is reached with the Taliban.

This week in the Qatari capital Doha, a summit planned between the Taliban and officials from across Afghanistan fell apart at the last minute due to bickering over who should attend the conference.

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