A suicide bomber blew himself up at the gate of the Defence Ministry in Kabul this morning killing nine civilians and injuring 14. The attack came during the visit of United States Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel to Afghanistan. He was at a NATO International Security Assistance Force facility nowhere near the explosion.
The Afghan Taliban claimed responsibility and said the ministry was the target. They said in a statement that it was a “message” for Hagel who is on his first trip abroad in his role as defense secretary. The blast has once again highlighted the challenges facing the country as U.S. led NATO forces prepare to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014.
Hagel will hold talks with President Hamid Karzai who recently ordered a curtailment of U.S. military activity, which once again stresses the tense relationship with the 66,000 American troops in the country.