A Kabul charity has been attacked by militants hours after a double bombing killed at least 24 people and left scores of others wounded.
The assault, which began with a large explosion and was followed by sporadic blasts and gunfire, took place on Tuesday morning against a charity called Pamlarena – which means care in Pashto – but it was unclear if the target was the international charity Care.
“42 people including 10 foreigners were rescued” after the attack, interior ministry spokesman .
“All three assailants were gunned down by security forces,” he added. Authorities had earlier said there were two attackers.
According to a western security source at the site, expatriates and local nationals were inside the facility. A major issue hampering rescue efforts was that the high level of security made the building difficult to enter and clear.
No militant group has so far claimed responsibility for the raid on the charity, but it comes as the Taliban intensify their nationwide offensive against the western-backed government.
Care International was not immediately reachable for comment.
The assault came hours after high-level officials, including an army general, were killed in two blasts near the defence ministry, in an attack apparently designed to inflict mass casualties.
The second blast struck just as soldiers, policemen and civilians hurried to help the victims of the first explosion, which occurred on a bridge near the ministry.
Ambulances rushed to the scene, littered with disfigured bodies and charred debris, but there were so many bodies that some had to be taken to hospitals in car boots and on police pickup trucks.
Firemen, meanwhile, retrieved some bodies thrown by the blast into the Kabul river.
Health ministry spokesman Waheed Majroh said the double bombing left 24 people dead and 91 others wounded, some of them seriously, adding that casualties could rise further.
The violence highlights the deteriorating security situation in the country.
“The enemies of have lost their ability to fight the security and defence forces of the country,” President Ashraf Ghani said on Monday, condemning the blasts. “That is why they are attacking highways, cities, mosques, schools and common people.”
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said on Twitter that the defence ministry was the object of the first attack, while police were targeted in the second.
Explosions and gunfire rocked the campus in that attack, which came just weeks after two university professors – an American and an Australian – were kidnapped at gunpoint near the school. Their whereabouts are still unknown and no group so far has publicly claimed responsibility for the abductions.
The increase in violence in the capital comes as the Taliban step up nationwide attacks, underscoring the worsening security situation since Nato forces ended their combat mission at the end of 2014.
Afghan forces backed by US troops are seeking to head off a potential Taliban takeover of Lashkar Gah, the capital of the southern opium-rich province of Helmand.
The Taliban have also closed in on Kunduz – the northern city they briefly seized last year in their biggest military victory since the 2001 US invasion – leaving Afghan forces stretched on multiple fronts.