Afghan policemen keep watch near the site of a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan on Wednesday. Omar Sobhani/ Reuters
Scores of people were wounded when a Taliban car bomb detonated in Kabul on Wednesday, sending a massive plume of smoke over the capital and shattering windows far from the blast site.
Violence is surging across Afghanistan and in Kabul as the US and the Taliban negotiate a peace deal ahead of elections planned for Sept.28.
The car bomb exploded near the entrance of a police station in western Kabul around 9:00 am (0430 GMT), interior ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said.
Health ministry spokesman Wahidullah Mayar said at least 95 people, mostly civilians and including women and children, had been taken to hospital.
“I heard a big bang and all the windows of my shop broke with glass flying everywhere,” shopkeeper Ahmad Saleh told AFP.
“My head is spinning and still I don't know what has happened but the windows of about 20 shops around one kilometre from the blast site are broken.”
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.
According to footage on social media and witnesses, small-arms fire could be heard following the blast.
A common insurgent tactic is to use a suicide bomber to hit a target and then follow up with gunmen storming the area.
More than 1,500 civilians were killed or wounded in the Afghan conflict in July alone, according to the UN, the highest monthly toll so far this year and the worst single month since May 2017.
Overnight Tuesday-Wednesday, Afghan commandos stormed a safe house for Daesh fighters near Kabul's airport, officials said. Details of that operation were still emerging.
At least five people were killed and seven wounded in Kabul on Tuesday when a vehicle carrying workers from the counter-narcotics directorate was bombed, the interior ministry said.
A health source said hospitals had received 66 dead bodies and 78 wounded people so far. Emergency Hospital in downtown Kabul said it was treating 21 patients and two were dead on arrival.
The blast went off at the entrance to the Sardar Mohammad Dawood Khan military hospital, the spokesman of the Taliban-run Interior Ministry, Saeed Khosty, wrote in a tweet. He added that special forces were at the scene.
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