Gunmen attack Afghan intelligence compound in Kabul, report says

Security personnel arrive at the site of the deadly bombing

The firefight erupted near a training facility overseen by the National Security Directorate - Afghanistan's intelligence agency - with the gunmen holed up in a construction site near residential homes, an official at the scene said.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack but Jawad Ghawari, a member of the city's Shiite clerical council, blamed IS, which has carried similar attacks on Shiites in the past, hitting mosques, schools and cultural centers.

"Afghan security forces have cordoned off the area as the clashes are ongoing". So far more than 150 people have been killed in the fighting, according to a local member of parliament.

Hundreds of civilians, soldiers and policemen have been killed in attacks over recent days, including 34 from a suicide bomb attack on an educational centre in Kabul on Wednesday.

Their funerals were due to take place on Thursday.

Separately, six girls younger than 10 were killed when an unexploded mortar they picked up to play with suddenly exploded on Wednesday, officials in the eastern province of Laghman said.

The latest wave of attacks comes in the wake of a nationwide ceasefire between the Afghan government and Taliban militant group announced in June.

In the past two years, there have been at least 13 attacks on the Shiite community in Kabul alone.

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Afghan forces appear to have finally pushed Taliban fighters from the strategic provincial capital.

The brief respite sparked hopes the truce could clear the way for talks to end the almost 17-year-old conflict. The Taliban has not taken any responsibility of the blast as of yet.

The Ghazni attack, one of the Taliban's most devastating in years, has clouded hopes for peace talks that had been prompted by an unprecedented ceasefire during the Eid celebration in June and a meeting last month between Taliban officials and a senior US diplomat.

"The Taliban's increasingly brazen attacks in recent weeks may be a way of strengthening their position ahead of widely-expected talks with the United States", Hadid says.

He said the security forces and civilians have not suffered casualties during the attack.

"It's the fighting season and the Taliban will want to rack up victories before winter".

Small pockets of Ghazni began opening up to humanitarian aid Thursday, while partial mobile service returned after telecommunications infrastructure and government buildings were destroyed during the onslaught.

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