Security forces stand in front of posters of Afghan presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani in Kabul. Reuters
A massive explosion followed by the sound of small-arms fire rocked central Kabul late on Monday in an apparent attack near an area that is home to several international groups.
According to interior ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi, the blast occurred near Green Village, a large compound that houses aid agencies and international organisations.
No group immediately claimed responsibility.
Green Village is separate from the nearby Green Zone, a walled-off and heavily fortified part of Kabul that is home to several embassies including the US and British facilities.
Kabul police spokesman Ferdaws Faramerz said the explosion appeared to have been a car bomb, though some unconfirmed reports said it was a larger truck bomb.
"Police have been deployed to the site and we are awaiting more information," Faramerz told reporters.
The blast came as an interview with US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad was being broadcast in which he discussed a potential deal with the Taliban.
Even as negotiations for the accord have entered what is widely considered to be the final stages, violence has continued apace across Afghanistan.
On Saturday, the Taliban attempted to seize Kunduz in the north, and on Sunday, they launched an operation in the city of Pul-e Khumri, the capital of neighbouring Baghlan province.
It was a heartless and condemnable act of terrorism in Kabul in which several people died and many were injured (“Bomb targets Kabul University, several die,” July 20, Gulf Today). There should be an end to war and terrorism in Afghanistan. For many decades the innocent Afghan people are being victimised
The explosions, in the capital Kabul and central province of Parwan, killed at least 45 people and injured dozens, according to police and health officials.
The rush-hour explosion sent a plume of smoke into the air above the Puli Mahmood Khan neighbourhood of the Afghan capital and shook buildings up to two kilometres (1.2 miles) away, with the media reporter saying he could hear gunshots after the blast.
The Dubai Public Prosecution referred a 43-year-old Arab employee to criminal court for committing five different crimes, including forgery, embezzlement, and impersonating a doctor.
Official records indicate that the suspect exploited the power granted to him and began to overcharging flight tickets, and charging extra fees for delayed and upgraded flights.
Four new COVID-19 cases surfaced in Tehran, seven in the holy city of Qom, two in Gilan and one each in Markazi and Tonekabon, health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said.