Kabul – A car bomb attack claimed by Taliban militants killed 26 people on Monday in western Kabul near the residence of Mohammad Mohaqiq, the deputy to Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah.
“Forty-one others were injured in the blast,” Shah Hussain Murtazawi, a spokesman for the Afghan presidential palace, told a press conference, adding that most of the victims were civilians.
A mini-bus from the Afghan Mines Ministry was destroyed in the attack, Basir Mujahid, a spokesman for Kabul police, told dpa.
A statement from Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, sent through the messaging app Telegram, said the bombing targeted two buses belonging to the Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) – the country’s spy agency – and claimed to have killed 37 personnel.
Abdul Wahab Azizi, Mohaqiq’s chief of staff, said Mohaqiq was unharmed.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah both condemned the attack.
Photographs on social media showed a black plume of smoke rising to the sky. Several buildings were heavily damaged, including a private university nearby.
A UN report this month into the Taliban insurgency said that in the first half of the year, the Afghan capital accounted for the highest number of civilian casualties in the country at 19 per cent.
The Taliban, an Islamic fundamentalist group who controlled Afghanistan prior to 2001, have been fighting a long insurgency across the country.