At least 35 people have been killed and more than 40 wounded after a suicide car bomb targeted a bus carrying ministry staff in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul, officials said.
Intelligence officials told Al Jazeera that the bus was carrying staff of the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum when it came under attack on Monday.
The attack happened just before 7am local time (02:30 GMT) and took place close to the house of the deputy government Chief Executive Mohammad Mohaqi, said officials.
Credit: Al Jazeera
Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement sent to Al Jazeera.
The bus was completely destroyed, along with three other cars and several shops in the area, said Kabul’s police chief spokesman, Basir Mujahed, adding children were among the wounded.
Najib Danish, an acting Interior Ministry spokesman added that the casualty toll could rise.
“It was a very loud blast and my shop is completely destroyed,” Baqi Mohammadi told Al Jazeera.
“The Taliban has attacked innocent people. Who has ever benefited from killing innocent people?”
Spokesman Mujahed said the “bomber struck at one of the busiest times of the day”.
“There were traffic jams with people going to work and to the university and schools. Many of the shops had just opened,” said Mujahed.
Al Jazeera’s Jennifer Glasse, reporting from Kabul, said the Hazara community had called a demonstration for Monday to commemorate a suicide bombing that killed 84 in the same area on July 23 last year.
The Hazaras are one of Afghanistan’s largest ethnic minorities, accounting for up to 20 percent of Afghanistan’s 30 million inhabitants.
The demonstration was postponed because of security risks.
“Security has been very tight in Kabul,” she said. “This morning, new barrier gates went up that limit the height of trucks coming in to the city.”
Hazaras are often the target of sectarian violence in Afghanistan and Pakistan.