Three blasts rock Afghanistan's Kabul, killing more than a dozen

At least 15 killed in three attacks in Afghan capital, with one bomb hitting a bus carrying government employees.

    The first blast targeted a bus carrying government employees in eastern Kabul [Omar Sobhani/Reuters]
    The first blast targeted a bus carrying government employees in eastern Kabul [Omar Sobhani/Reuters]

    Three explosions have rocked Afghanistan's capital Kabul, killing a total of at least 15 people and wounding dozens of others, according to officials.

    Eight employees of the ministry of mines and petroleum were killed and 27 wounded in an attack on their bus, ministry officials said in a statement on Thursday.

    Five women and a child were among the dead.

    Minutes after the blast, a suicide bomber blew himself up a few meters away, killing at least seven people and wounding 20.

    "First a magnetic bomb pasted to a minibus exploded, then a suicide bomber blew himself near the bus attack site and the third blast happened when a car was blown up by unknown militants," said Nasrat Rahimi, a spokesman of the interior ministry in Kabul.

    "The death toll could rise from all the three blasts," he said.

    A spokesman for the Taliban claimed responsibility for the car bomb alone, but denied involvement in the other attacks which were later claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) armed group.

    Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban spokesman, said nine foreign forces were killed in the car bomb attack and two vehicles destroyed, but government officials did not confirm the Taliban claim.

    ISIL said on the Telegram channels affiliated to the group that it targeted an Afghan government vehicle before detonating another explosive when Afghan security forces arrived to assist.

    The Taliban has continued to launch daily assaults, mainly targeting security forces, even while holding negotiations with the United States aimed at ending the 18-year war.

    A wounded man receives treatment at a hospital after a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan
    Dozens of people were injured in Thursday's attacks [Omar Sobhani/Reuters]

    The US is negotiating for an accord that would see foreign forces pull out of the country in return for various Taliban security guarantees, including a pledge that Afghanistan will not become a safe haven for armed groups.

    Some observers say the Taliban are increasing attacks to gain greater leverage in the talks.

    Elsewhere in Afghanistan, seven civilians - six women and a child - were killed in a roadside bombing in the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar, the provincial governor's office said.

    Four others, including one woman, were injured in Thursday's incident, which took place in Khogyani district.

    The roadside bomb struck a mini-bus carrying a family that was heading to a wedding, according to a statement from the governor's office.

    No group has claimed responsibility for the Khogyani attack.

    Meanwhile, at least 35 policemen have been killed in a Taliban attack on facilities in Afghanistan's northern province of Takhar, former district governor Sayed Mehrabuddin told DPA. 

    At least 12 people, including six policemen, were also injured in the five-hour-long battle on Wednesday night in Ishkamish district, he said.

    However, another official, provincial council member Mawlawi Keramatullah, said that the death toll was as high as 43 policemen with nine others missing. He said Taliban fighters overran the base and destroyed it before leaving.

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    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies