Two large bombs — one triggered by a suicide attacker — exploded near government offices Tuesday, killing at least 38 people and wounding dozens of others in the deadliest Taliban violence in Kabul in months.
The suicide bomber struck about 4 p.m. as workers were leaving a compound of government and legislative offices, said Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi. The second bomb, which was planted in a car, exploded minutes later after security forces had rushed in to help the victims, he said.
The Taliban, who have been waging a 15-year war against the U.S.-backed government, claimed the attack in the capital.
The 38 dead included civilians and military personnel, and another 72 people were wounded, said Public Health Ministry official Mohibullah Zeer.
Among the wounded was Rahima Jami, a member of parliament from Herat province in western Afghanistan, said another lawmaker from the province, Ghulam Faroq Naziri.
It appeared to be the deadliest attack in Kabul since July, when two suicide bombers struck during a demonstration held by Hazaras, a Shiite Muslim ethnic group, killing 80 people. That attack was claimed by a local affiliate of the Islamic State group.
Fighting in Afghanistan tends to taper off during the winter, when mountain supply routes used by the insurgents are impassable.
President Asharf Ghani strongly condemned the Kabul bombings in a statement from the presidential palace.
Amnesty International said the bombings indicate that “the Taliban are pressing ahead with a gruesome campaign of violence that makes no effort to spare civilian lives.”
“Targeting first responders in a car bomb that killed many people that were on the street shows a chilling contempt for human life,” said Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s South Asia director.
The Taliban also claimed a suicide bombing earlier in the day that killed seven people in Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital of Helmand province in southern Afghanistan, said Gen. Agha Noor Kemtoz, the provincial police chief.
The bomber, who was on foot, attacked a guest house used by provincial intelligence officials, he said.
Civilians and military personnel were among the dead, and six others were wounded, Kemtoz added.
A car full of explosives was found nearby.
Also in the south, in Kandahar province, two explosions inside the governor’s compound killed five people and wounded 12, including Gov. Homayun Azizi, his spokesman said. The spokesman, Samim Khpolwak, who was slightly wounded, said it was not yet clear what caused the blasts.
An attack inside the heavily guarded compound would be a major breach of security.