A group of Taliban fighters on Wednesday attacked an international aid group in the centre of Afghanistan's capital, injuring at least nine people, officials said.
The attack started in the Shahr-e-Naw area of Kabul at 11.40 a.m. (local time) with an explosion outside the entrance gate of Counterpart International, an international non-profit organization which is operating in Afghanistan since 2005.
It was followed by gunfight as other attackers tried to enter the building housing the aid group, said Interior Affairs Ministry spokesman Nusrat Rahimi.
Public Health Ministry spokesman Wahidullah Majroh said that "so far, nine injured persons have been evacuated to hospitals from the Shahr-e-Naw blast".
The targeted area also houses an office of the country's Attorney General and the Hanzala Mosque.
The security forces also recovered a car bomb near the site of attack and rescued more than 150 employees of the Counterpart International, TOLO News reported.
Kabul police spokesman Basir Mujahid said that special forces cleared the first floor of the building of the NGO and were still clearing remaining parts of the building.
"First there was a heavy explosion and the attackers then entered the complex and took positions inside amid sporadic gunfire", he added.
The blast also damaged several buildings and cars in the business district. All roads leading to the area were blocked and authorities called in special forces for reinforcement.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack against the NGO, which, he said, was "created by USAID and is involved in various destructive activities".
A Taliban mouthpiece claimed that Counterpart carried out "a dangerous programme called Angel to promote relations between men and women", Efe news reported.
The militant group's said the group trained workers in the Afghan administration to promote "anti-Islamic ideology and Western culture".
Counterpart is headquartered in the US city of Arlington, Virginia.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)