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New bombing rocks Kabul

New bombing rocks Kabul
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The Afghan capital has suffered its worst bomb attack of this year.

A series of blasts and exchanges of gunfire in Kabul this morning have left at least 17 people dead.

The main explosion, thought to have been triggered by a suicide bomber, came outside the city’s main shopping centre and a hotel popular with foreigners.

Officials say a French national, an Italian and several Indians are among the casualties as well as two Afghan policemen.

The Taliban have said they carried out the attack.

It comes with coalition and Afghan forces still involved in a major offensive against the Taliban in Helmand province, where they have driven insurgents out of their stronghold of Marjah.

Analysts say the Taliban are determined to show that despite the pressure being put on them in Helmand, they remain capable of launching deadly assaults across Afghanistan. The last occurred in Kabul on January 18, an attack that claimed 12 lives.