Twenty eight killed in Afghan suicide blast

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At least 28 people, including civilians, have been killed in a suicide bomb attack on a government office in northern Afghanistan's Kunduz province, police said today.

Abdul Qayum Ebrahimi, police chief of Iman Sahib district, said the bomber detonated his explosives at the entrance to the compound, killing many people waiting in line to get identification cards.

Mr Ebrahimi said the district police and a government office which distributes official identification papers are both located in the building which was hit by the explosion.

"Today it was very crowded," he said. "People had gathered in the front of the department to get identification cards."

He said an unknown number of people were injured.

There has been sharp slide in security in recent months in Kunduz and other northern provinces, where there are known hide-outs for the Taliban, al-Qa'ida and fighters from other militant factions, including the Haqqani network, Hizb-i-Islami and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.

Nato has sent more troops to the north and has been pushing harder into militant-held areas.

Earlier this month, a bomber killed the district chief of Chahar Dara in Kunduz province.

In October last year, a powerful bomb killed the governor of Kunduz, Mohammad Omar, and 19 others in a crowded mosque in neighbouring Takhar province.

Mr Omar was killed just days after he publicly warned of escalating threats from Taliban and foreign fighters across the north.