At least six people were killed and 20 injured in an explosion near Pashtunishtan Square in Kabul on Monday, ToloNews reported. The attack took place around 1.30 pm (2.30 pm Indian time) close to the city centre, where the finance and justice ministries, and the presidential palace are located.

“The suicide attacker on foot wanted to target protesters, but he was stopped at a security checkpoint some 200 metres from the site,” said Interior Ministry Deputy Spokesperson Nasrat Rahimi.

The blast took place near an area where hundreds of protestors, including university students, had gathered to demonstrate against the lack of security and the Taliban threat in Ghazni and Uruzgan provinces, ToloNews reported. The protestors were demanding the deployment of security reinforcements in districts dominated by people of the Hazara tribe that the Taliban have often attacked.

An unidentified police officer told AFP that he saw 10 to 15 bodies lying on the ground. “It is hard to see whether it was a suicide attack or a bomb [that had been planted],” he added.

Another attack by suspected Taliban militants on Khak Safid district in the western province of Farah on Sunday killed up to 40 local police personnel and civilians, provincial council member Dadullah Qaneh said. “They set the houses of local police members on fire, killed women and children and local police,” he added.

On November 5, Taliban militants killed at least 13 soldiers and police personnel in an attack on a newly established checkpoint in Ghazni province. The militants also attacked a security checkpoint in Malistan district.