Huge explosion at guesthouse for foreigners shakes Kabul
A huge explosion at a hotel for foreigners in Kabul has shaken Afghanistan's capital.
It was not immediately clear what caused the blast, which shook much of the capital at 1.25am local time (9.55pm BST) on Monday. It was followed by widespread power cuts.
Gul Agha Rohani, Kabul's deputy chief of police, said the explosion happened east of the city's international airport.
He named the Northgate Hotel, which houses international contractors, without further details.
An email message from Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said insurgents had attacked the hotel.
The message said the hotel was targeted by a truck bomb and casualties were high. The Taliban regularly exaggerates the impact of attacks.
A man who answered the phone at the hotel said there had been a large explosion there. "We have 100% accountability," he said.
Foreign guest houses have been a regular target of attacks since the Taliban began its war to topple the Kabul government.
The Northgate is typical of many pre-fabricated compounds that offer secure accommodation to foreign workers. It is near Bagram Air Base and has been attacked at least once before, in July 2013.
Monday's blast follows a suicide attack on a peaceful demonstration on July 23 that killed more than 80 people and wounded hundreds.
That attack was claimed by the Islamic State group, its first in the Afghan capital and the biggest in Kabul since the Taliban launched their uprising in 2001.