Afghan official: Suicide bombing kills 6 near Kabul academy

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KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A suicide bomber targeting a military academy in Kabul killed at least six people and wounded six others on Thursday, the Interior Ministry said.

No militant group immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing but both the Taliban and Islamic State militants regularly target Afghan forces. The Mashal Fahim academy, located in a western Kabul neighborhood, has been attacked in the past.

The Interior Ministry said a soldier had noticed a suspicious person and as he approached him, the attacker detonated his explosives near the academy.

If the bomber had come closer, the number of casualties could have been much higher, a security official said, adding that the academy cadets were getting ready to leave for their weekend. The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

Police quickly sealed off the attack site. Ferdus Faramarz, spokesman for the Kabul police chief, said an investigation was underway.

Last year, IS militants attacked the academy — sometimes called "Sandhurst in the Sand" in reference to the famous British school — and killed at least 11 troops. It's named for Mohammed Fahim, the country's late vice president and a military commander of the Northern Alliance that fought the Taliban. It was inaugurated in 2013 and British troops in Afghanistan oversaw the establishing of the academy's officer school and training program.

The academy was also the site where Army Maj Gen. Harold J. Greene lost his life — the highest-ranking U.S. military officer to be killed in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Greene, then deputy commander of NATO's transition force in the country, was shot and killed by an Afghan soldier in a so-called "insider attack" that was later claimed by the Taliban in August 2014.

Separately, the Interior Ministry said Thursday that Afghan special forces rescued at least 28 people from a Taliban-run prison in Nawbahar district in southern Zabul province in the morning hours. It said 16 civilians and 12 members of the security forces were freed in the operation, which involved a gunbattle with the Taliban that also left two insurgents dead.

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