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Explosion hits Kabul during press briefing by new US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel

Suicide bomb appears to have exploded outside Afghan defense ministry, say police, and three civilians have been killed.

Hagel sworn in 2013 02 27Enlarge
As his wife Lilibet holds the bible, Chuck Hagel is sworn into office as the 24th secretary of defense at the Pentagon on Feb. 27. (Chad J. McNeeley/Defense Department/Getty Images)

A suicide bomb exploded outside the Afghan Defense Ministry on March 9, killing at least three civilians and wounding at least six others according to BBC sources.

The explosion took place soon after new US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel arrived in the country.

CNN writes that the explosion took place as Hagel was giving a press conference, forcing the event to move to a safer location.

Read more from GlobalPost: Hagel makes surprise visit to Kabul

According to the BBC, the explosion was followed by "the sound of heavy gunfire," while Kabul police chief Mohammad Zahir said that the situation was under control, and victims had been transported to area hospitals.

The attack took place around 9:00 AM, carried out by a suicide bomber riding a bicycle, writes CBS, and authorities are stll trying to ascertain the number of casualties, which CBS lists as seven killed and six wounded.

"We are still at war," said Hagel at the March 9 press conference.

"That transition has to be done right, it has to be done in partnership with the Afghans, with our allies," he added. "Our country as well as Afghanistan, the region, and the allies have a lot at stake here. And our continued focus and energy and attention on Afghanistan is going to be very important."

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/afghanistan/130309/explosion-hits-kabul-during-press-briefing-new