A suicide bomber has killed at least 14 people in an attack on a minibus carrying Nepalese security guards in Kabul.
“Initial report of today’s terrorist attack in Kabul 14 killed and eight wounded. Police are working to ID victims,” interior ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqui said on Twitter on Monday.
A spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, claimed responsibility for the attack on social media, claiming it was “against the forces of aggression” in Afghanistan.
The bombing, carried out by a suicide bomber on foot according to police, occurred just before 6am (0130 GMT) in the east of the Kabul along the main road to the eastern city of Jalalabad.
Kabul police chief Abdul Rahman Rahimi said the suicide bomber had waited near a compound housing the security contractors and struck as the vehicle moved through early morning traffic. As well as the bus passengers, several people in an adjacent market were also wounded in the attack.
It was the first attack in the capital since the start of the holy fasting month of Ramadan two weeks ago.
The last attack in the Afghan capital on 19 April left 64 dead and more than 340 wounded.
That attack was also claimed by the Taliban, who have been waging an insurgency against the Western-backed Kabul government since they were ousted from power by a US-led invasion in late 2001.
In a separate attack hours later, a bomb planted in a motorbike killed at least eight civilians and wounded another 18 in a crowded market in the northern province of Badakhshan, said provincial government spokesman Naveed Frotan. The casualty count could rise, he said.
Another explosion in Kabul later on Monday morning wounded a provincial council member and at least three of his bodyguards, Kabul police spokesman Basir Mujahid said. It was thought a bomb had been attached to the politician’s car, he said.
Neither of the latter two attacks were immediately claimed by any group.
Washington recently announced an expansion of the US military’s authority to conduct air strikes against the Taliban, significantly boosting Afghan forces who have limited close air-support capacities.
US forces have been in an advisory role in since the start of 2015 and were only authorised to hit Taliban targets for defensive reasons, or to protect Afghan soldiers.
The changes mean US troops can now work more closely with local fighters in striking the Taliban, who have demanded the departure of all foreign forces.