By Hamid Shalizi
KABUL (Reuters) - A suicide bomber killed at least six people and wounded 23 more when he detonated explosives at a military hospital in the Afghan capital Kabul on Saturday, the Defense Ministry said in a statement.
The bomber struck at 12:30 p.m. local time (5 a.m. EDT) in the cafeteria of the hospital where medical students were eating lunch, said Mohammad Zahir, head of the police crime investigation unit. He added the dead were students.
The hospital is located in a heavily-guarded area of the capital, home to several foreign embassies and international organizations.
Despite escalating violence in the 10th year of an increasingly unpopular war in Afghanistan, Kabul is relatively peaceful. In early April a suicide bomber attacked an Afghan army bus on the outskirts of Kabul, wounding 10 soldiers and civilians.
The Taliban last month announced the start of a long-awaited "spring offensive," vowing to carry out attacks, including suicide bombings, on foreign and Afghan troops and government officials.
Despite the presence of up to 150,000 foreign troops, violence across Afghanistan is at its worst since the 2001 overthrow of the Taliban government by U.S.-backed Afghan forces, and last year saw record casualties on both sides.
(Writing by Amie Ferris-Rotman; Editing by Alex Richardson)