KABUL, Afghanistan - Twin bombings near the Afghan Defense Ministry killed at least 24 people on Monday, including two security force generals, in an attack claimed by the Taliban. A third bombing occurred Monday night in a residential area, followed by a gun battle.
Public Health Ministry spokesman Ismail Kawasi said another 91 people were wounded in the attack in central Kabul. Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said a district police chief and five other police officers were among those killed.
Deputy Defense Ministry spokesman Mohammad Radmanish said the second bombing was caused by a suicide attacker who struck the area of the first blast after security forces gathered there. He said the attack took place as ministry employees were leaving their offices for the day. Senior police investigator Faredoon Obiadi said the suicide attacker was wearing a military uniform.
A district police chief and an army general were among those killed in the attack, three officials told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information. Dozens of ambulances raced to the scene after the blasts, and security forces blocked off roads leading to the area.
Ashuqullah, 34, who like many Afghans has no surname, described the scene of chaos he witnessed.
“The second explosion was so strong, and many people, including security officials, were killed and wounded,” he said.
President Ashraf Ghani condemned the attack in a statement, saying “the enemies of Afghanistan have lost their ability to fight the Security and Defense Forces of the country and thus attack highways, cities, mosques, schools and common people.”
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said his group had carried out the attack. The insurgents have been fighting to overthrow the U.S.-backed government for 15 years, and frequently target Afghan security forces.
An hour before midnight on Monday, a suicide car bomber targeted the Kabul residential neighborhood of Shar-e Now, or New City. The 11 p.m. explosion was followed by gunfire that continued for over an hour with sporadic shootings still under way.
The area is home to several guest houses and many foreigners and diplomats reside there.
Sediqqi, the Interior Ministry spokesman, said the target of that attack was not immediately clear. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the assault.
After the explosion, two more attackers entered one of the buildings in the area, believed to be a guest house, said Sediqqi. There was no immediate word on casualties and all major roads in the area have been blocked by police.