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Blast Rocks Kabul; Dozens Wounded, Attackers Killed

Men wearing bombs strapped to their bodies and traveling in two vehicles carrying more explosives wounded dozens of civilians in Kabul today when they attacked a government security office, NPR's Sean Carberry reports from the scene.

Sean tells the NPR Newscast desk that the Taliban is claiming responsibility and that:

"The sound of gunfire reverberated through the city after the powerful blast rocked downtown Kabul. Afghan officials say the assailants detonated one vehicle before security forces killed other men who were wearing suicide vests. A second vehicle failed to detonate and was defused. Six assailants were killed.

"The blast blew out the thick glass windows of stores across the street from Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security. Attacks in Kabul are rare, but usually target government or security offices."

The Associated Press adds that "the explosion occurred about noon local time and was followed by volleys of gunfire."

Update at 8:50 a.m. ET. More From Kabul.

Sean tells the Newscast Desk that:

The explosion could be felt more than a mile away, and gunfire rang out for several minutes after the blast. Government spokesman Sediq Sediqqi, speaking to reporters amid the debris at the scene, said "the first suicide bomber ... was able to bring the car in front of the gate. ... The other five attackers used another vehicle." But as "they tried to enter ... they were shot, all of them."

Officials say that the second vehicle was full of weapons and ammunition, and was loaded with a type of explosive they haven't seen before. They also acknowledged that despite the prevalence of checkpoints on Kabul's streets, there are clearly still security gaps in the city.

He also reports that officials say one security officer was killed and four of the wounded civilians are in critical condition.

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