Afghan parliament attack kills over 30

Hamid Shalizi

A Taliban suicide attack in the Afghan capital Kabul on Tuesday has killed more than 30 people and wounded 70 others, as twin blasts hit a crowded area of the city during the afternoon rush hour.

Saleem Rasouli, a senior public health official, said 33 people had been killed in the attack on the Darul Aman road, near the new Indian-financed parliament building. He said most of the victims were parliamentary staff members.

On the same day, at least another 14 people were killed and dozens injured in separate incidents in the volatile southern provinces of Helmand and Kandahar.

The Taliban, which immediately claimed responsibility for the Kabul attack, said its target had been a minibus carrying staff from the National Directorate of Security (NDS), Afghanistan's main intelligence agency.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said a suicide bomber attacked the minibus in the Darul Aman area, and was followed almost immediately by a car bomber, who killed security forces attending the scene.

"We planned this attack for quite some time and the plan was target some senior officers of the intelligence agency. We sent one suicide bomber to target a mini bus that was carrying these officers," he said. "We did exactly what we planned."

One witness, Sajadullah Khan, said he saw numerous wounded people lying on the ground after the explosion which he said "totally burned out" the minibus.

President Ashraf Ghani condemned the "criminal" attacks and vowed the perpetrators would not be safe anywhere in the country.

"The Taliban shamelessly claim credit for the attack on civilians and they're proud of it," he said in a statement.

Hours after the Kabul incident, at least seven people were killed and 18 wounded in an explosion in the southern city of Kandahar. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Among the wounded were the provincial governor and the United Arab Emirates ambassador, officials said.

Earlier on Tuesday, a suicide bomber killed seven people and wounded nine when he detonated his explosives in a house in Helmand used by an NDS unit.