Kabul blast: Death toll rises to 20

Death toll from Kabul suicide attack rises to 13: officials

Pakistan on Friday strongly condemned a suicide attack in the Afghan capital that resulted in at least 20 casualties.

The sources said 30 others were wounded in the explosion.

"The bomber came from among the protesters and targeted our police forces", Rahimi said, adding the attacker was wearing civilian clothes.

In the past few months the Taliban have also stepped up attacks.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's spokesperson issued a statement calling the attack an "unpardonable crime against humanity" and pledging to destroy terrorist groups.

The IS group has gained ground in Afghanistan since it first appeared in the region in 2015 and has scaled up its attacks in Kabul, including on security installations and the country's Shiite minority.

Prior to Thursday's attack, there had been at least 12 attacks on Shi'ite targets since the start of 2016, in which nearly 700 people were killed or wounded, according to United Nations figures. Before that, there had only been one major attack, in 2011. Much of the center of Kabul is already a fortified zone of concrete blast walls and police checkpoints, following repeated attacks on the diplomatic quarter of the city.

The Sunni extremist group has recently increased its attacks against Shi'a in Afghanistan - particularly in Kabul.

Wahid Majroh, a spokesman for the ministry of public health, said 11 dead and 25 wounded had been brought to city hospitals after the blast in an area of the city not far from the US Embassy and other foreign missions.

USA forces led an invasion to drive Taliban extremists from power after Al-Qaeda militants whose leaders were sheltering in Afghanistan carried out the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

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