A Taliban suicide bomber has killed at least six police officers and wounded another four outside the Ministry of Interior Affairs (MOI) building in Kabul.
Officials confirmed that the attacker — named as Musa from Kunduz province by a Taliban statement — was wearing a police uniform when he was spotted by officers at the ministry gates Wednesday afternoon.
Local media reports said the attacker made it as far as the third checkpoint near the MOI administrative offices when he detonated his explosives. "A suicide bomber wearing a military uniform... detonated his explosives at the main gate of the interior ministry," a Persian-language statement read.
Sediq Sediqqi, an MOI spokesman, confirmed that the bomber made it past several security checks before detonating his explosives. Although the ministry is located in central Kabul, not far the capital’s commercial center, there have been no reports of civilian casualties.
The attack comes three days before Afghanistan’s presidential and provincial council elections. Though the capital had been relatively quiet over the last few days, the Taliban have issued repeated threats against anyone partaking in Saturday’s ballot.
The interior ministry is responsible for the Afghan National Police force and one of the central bodies charged with guaranteeing security for the April 5 vote.
All three frontrunner candidates were holding final events in Kabul and the northern province of Faryab at the time of the attack. Wednesday also marks the final day of campaigning for the eight remaining presidential hopefuls.
Security at the Ministry of Interior complex in Kabul was tightened after a suicide bomber wearing a military uniform struck the entrance on April 2.
Elsewhere in the country on Wednesday, a blast in the southern province of Kandahar left 10 civilians wounded.
In the north, residents of Sar-e Pol province decried the killing of Hussain Nazari, a provincial council candidate, and nine others — who were believed to be part of his campaign staff — who were kidnapped by the Taliban on Monday.
The Sar-e Pol governor, Abdul Jabar Haqbeen, said authorities had been informed that Nazari and two other people were beheaded.
Last week, the Taliban had claimed responsibility for two attacks on the Independent Election Commission offices in Kabul province.
On Saturday, five fighters attacked the commission headquarters outside of Kabul. After a five-hour gun battle, all of the attackers were killed.
That attack was preceded by an attack on a smaller election commission office in the Darulaman neighborhood of Kabul on Tuesday. That attack, near the homes of several high-profile officials, including presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, left two police officers, two election commission workers, and a provincial council candidate dead.