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Seven injured in blast near Kabul international airport 'caused by suicide bomb'

An explosion today at a busy roundabout near the entrance to Kabul's international airport that wounded at least seven people appears to have been caused by a suicide car bomb, officials said.

A huge plume of black smoke rose above the city after the explosion was heard just after noon. Police, soldiers and ambulances rushed to the site, which is usually thronging with pedestrians and vehicles.

General Gul Agha Rohani, Kabul's deputy police chief, said he was told a suicide car bomber had struck the front gate of the airport and was on his way to the scene.

Wahidullah Mayar, the spokesman for the ministry of public health, said at least seven civilians were wounded in the blast. "We expect more," he said.

The charred remains of a car lay on its side near the roundabout.

Kabul has been rocked by a series of militant attacks in recent days, killing scores of people and wounding hundreds.

The latest violence comes after the Afghan intelligence service said the Taliban's long-time leader Mullah Mohammad Omar had been dead for more than two years. The disclosure of his death, later confirmed by the Taliban, triggered an internal succession dispute and raised questions about the future direction of the insurgency.

President Ashraf Ghani was due to hold a televised press conference later today.

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