A Taliban suicide bomber detonated an explosives-laden car in Kabul on Friday outside a compound where many foreign workers are based, killing at least two civilians, Afghan officials said.
The blast was followed by bursts of gunfire as Afghan quick-reaction forces rushed to the scene at the Green Village, a fortified residential complex not far from Kabul airport in the east of the city.
A small car packed with explosives hit two vehicles as they were exiting the Green Village compound.
"Initial investigations show it was a suicide car bomb attack," interior ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said, confirming that two civilians, including one woman, had been killed.
"A small car packed with explosives hit two vehicles as they were exiting the Green Village compound," he added. At least four other civilians were also injured.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the strike. "Our mujahideen targeted a convoy of foreign forces at the Green Village which is used by the Americans," Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid told the AFP news agency. "Heavy casualties have been inflicted on the enemy."
Taliban spokesmen often issue exaggerated casualty reports.
The Afghan capital has been relatively peaceful in recent months after a series of suicide bomb and gun attacks earlier this year when foreign compounds, the supreme court, the airport and the presidential palace were all targeted.
Friday's attack, the first major strike in Kabul since July, comes as pressure grows on the Afghan government to seek a peace deal with the rebels.
The US has been pushing for peace talks as 87,000 NATO combat troops prepare to leave Afghanistan next year and local security forces take on the fight against the group.
The Taliban, who have been fighting a guerrilla war for 12 years, have consistently refused to hold any talks with the Afghan government, with leaders labelling Karzai as a puppet of the US.