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Post-bombings attack put down in Afghan capital, authorities say

KABUL, Afghanistan -- Gunfire was heard in Kabul early Tuesday as security forces searched for attackers hiding in a building, a day after twin bombings near the Afghan Defense Ministry killed at least 24 people and wounded more than 90 others.

Sediq Sediqqi, spokesman for the Afghan Interior Minister, said sporadic gunfire started in the morning hours shortly after a suicide car bomber targeted the Kabul residential neighborhood of Shar-e Now, or New City.

Sediqqi told CBS News the attack was on the charity CARE.

Later, he said defense forces had ended the assault, killing the three attackers who’d carried it out. A civilian was also left dead and six people were wounded, he said.

Forty-two people were rescued from houses near the CARE office during the operation, Sediqqi added, and about 10 people were rescued from the office.      

Kabul’s director of criminal investigations, Fridon Obaidy, told CBS News no foreigners were in the office at the time of the attack, and locals who were, including guards, were in a safe room. 

Security forces had blocked all the roads leading to Shar-e Now.

The gunfire followed Monday’s twin bombings near the Defense Ministry. Two security force generals were among those killed in the attack, which was claimed by the Taliban.

Public Health Ministry spokesman Ismail Kawasi said another 91 people were wounded in the attack in central Kabul. Sediqqi, the Interior Ministry spokesman, 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 had 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.