Nine people were killed and 14 others wounded in a suicide bombing near the Afghan Defence Ministry building in Kabul on Saturday, officials said.

 

The blast occurred during the visit to Kabul by the US defence minister’s first visit.

 

Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

 

The defence ministry spokesman, General Zahir Azimi said that the bomber used explosive-packed vehicle for the attack just 30 meters from the defenc e ministry’s building.

 

He said that no security man was hurt in the attack.

 

Afghan officials said that nine civilians were killed and 14 others were injured.

 

Pentagon said that the US defence secretary, Chuck Hagel, was at an American military base at the time of the attack.

 

The US defence secretary arrived in Kabul for his first visit to Afghanistan late Friday. He was scheduled to attend a ceremony to hand over the Bagram detention center to Afghan authorities.

 

Reports said that before the blast, sounds of gunfire had been heard.

 

The roads leading to the Defence Ministry were blocked and there was tight security in the area.

 

US Defence Secretary was scheduled to meet the Afghan president at the presidential palace and the foreign forces in military bases.

 

Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said that the bomber killed 15 Afghan officers and soldiers in the attack.

 

He said in a statement that the attacker, Muhammad Kandahari, was on foot and entered the defence ministry building.

 

The Taliban spokesman rejected the defence ministry spokesman’s claim that civilians were killed in the blast.

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