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Suicide bomb hits Kabul as U.S. defense chief visits

Published: Saturday, March 9, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

KABUL, Afghanistan – An Afghan official says at least eight civilians have been killed by a suicide bomber outside the Afghan Defense Ministry as U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel visited Kabul.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in the Afghan capital, saying it was meant as a warning to the U.S. defense chief.

Pentagon spokesman George Little says the secretary was in a briefing at a U.S.-led military coalition facility in another part of the city when the explosion occurred.

Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman Gen. Mohammad Zahir Azimi says a bicycle bomber struck just before 9 a.m. local time about 30 meters (yards) from the ministry's main gate.

Another spokesman, Gen. Mohammad Zahir, from the Afghan police criminal investigation division, says at least eight civilians were killed and others were wounded.

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