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Afghan TV: Kabul explosions kill 26

Authorities direct the emergency response at the scene of the blast.
Authorities direct the emergency response at the scene of the blast.  

KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) -- At least 26 people were killed and 150 injured by two explosions in the center of Afghanistan's capital city, Afghan television reported.

Security officials said most of the casualties were caused by a massive secondary blast, which took place outside the Ministry of Information and Culture at around mid-afternoon local time.

They said a much smaller initial blast may have been intended to lure curious onlookers and security forces to the area before the larger second blast, which was thought to have been a car bomb.

Eyewitnesses said ambulances were ferrying casualties from the blast scene in the city's busy business district.

At least two cars were destroyed in the explosions and dozens of windows in the nearby ministry were blown out. It was not clear whether the ministry was the target of the blast.

Security officials combed the area looking for other explosive devices.

CNN's Christiane Amanpour has more on the deadly explosion in Kabul, Afghanistan -- feared to have been a car bomb. (September 5)

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The impact of the blasts in Kabul is evident in this gallery of scenes  from the aftermath of the explosions.
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Several of the casualties were taken to an Italian hospital in the city, but that hospital was reported to have been overwhelmed and was sending the injured to other facilities.

The blast was the most serious incident to hit Kabul since President Hamid Karzai's government took office earlier this year.

It followed a series of warnings from local and international security forces that some kind of action might be imminent in the days before the anniversary of the September 11 attacks on the United States.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility, although officials have mentioned several suspects -- including remnants of the country's former Taliban rulers and Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda terrorist group.

Others suggested that renegade warlord and former Prime Minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar may have been involved.

Earlier this week Hekmatyar issued a call for jihad, or holy war, to drive American and other foreign troops from Afghanistan.

-- CNN Correspondents Christiane Amanpour and Matthew Chance contributed to this report




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