At least 24 people were killed and 42 were wounded in a suicide bombing in the Afghan capital in the early morning hours on Monday. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.
The suicide bomber crashed his car packed with explosives into a bus full of government employees in Kabul, the Associated Press reports. The attack took place during rush hour in a western Kabul neighborhood where several prominent politicians reside.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, said the target of the bombing was the intelligence services and their employees, the AP reports. He claimed the bus was filled with employees of the intelligence services and that Taliban insurgents spent the last two months shadowing the employees before carrying out the attack.
Three civilian vehicles and 15 shops were destroyed or damaged in the blast. Government security forces said a small bus owned by the Ministry of Mines had also been destroyed in the attack, but the National Directorate for Security, Afghanistan’s main intelligence agency, said none of its personnel had been hit.
The Interior Ministry called Monday’s attack “a criminal act against humanity,” in a statement.
Since the beginning of this year, over 1,700 civilians have been killed in Afghanistan. Kabul has accounted for at least 20 percent of those casualties.
This blast is just one attack in the new wave of violence launched by the Taliban in recent days, with fighting in more than half a dozen provinces, the Associated Press reports. The Taliban is currently battling for control of Afghanistan against the Western-backed government and a NATO-led coalition. This resurgence of violence coincides with the U.S. administration considering the possibility of sending more troops into the country.
Christianna Silva is an NPR Digital News intern.