At least 28 people were killed and more than 300 people were injured after an explosion rocked Kabul, Afghanistan, on Tuesday morning, authorities said.
A suicide car bomber caused the explosion, said Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqi. The attack targeted the office of a security team that works to protect the government’s VIPs, an Afghan police official said. That office falls under the president’s office of administrative affairs.
The Afghan Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, the group said in a statement.
“First, a suicide bomber blew up his explosives-laden lorry on the gate of the department and then other armed attackers went in and started shooting on the rest of the enemies,” the statement said.
Afghan police have been instructed to kill the Taliban terrorists in the area near the explosion, Sediqi said. At least one armed assailant was killed by police at the site, but authorities are seeking two more suspects in the area, he said.
Several witness said they continued to hear gunfire after the explosion. Ambulances carried the injured to several hospitals around Kabul, said the Afghan Health Ministry.
“President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani condemned the terrorist attack in Pule Mahmood Khan area, Kabul, which martyred and injured a number of Afghan innocent civilians in strongest terms,” a statement released by the president’s office said.
Ghani tweeted the following from his office’s official account: “Today’s terrorist attack near Pul-e-Mahmud Khan, #Kabul clearly shows the enemy’s defeat in face-to-face battle with (Afghan National Defence and Security Forces).”
The explosion was heard near the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, according to an embassy spokeswoman.
The embassy was unaffected by the explosion, according to the official. But the U.S. Embassy warned Americans in the country to “maintain a high level of vigilance.”