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Afghan Taliban Claims Deadly Suicide Car-Bomb Attack In Kabul

Afghan men are treated in a hospital after being injured in a car-bomb attack in Kabul on July 24.

The Afghan Taliban has claimed responsibility for a suicide car-bomb attack that the government says killed at least 24 people and wounded 42 others in the capital, Kabul.

Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish said the attack that occurred around 7 a.m. on July 24 in the western part of the capital targeted a bus carrying employees of the Ministry of Mines.

The Taliban said in a statement that the bombing targeted two buses belonging to the National Directorate of Security (NDS), the country's spy agency, and claimed to have killed 37 personnel.

Salim Rasuli, director of Kabul’s hospitals, said at least 13 dead and 17 wounded had so far been taken to hospitals.

Witnesses said the attacker appeared to have rammed into a bus. Shattered glass from nearby buildings was scattered over the roadway after the blast.

Danish said the bus was badly burned. He could not confirm if the occupants were all government employees.

In a statement, the Interior Ministry called the attack a "criminal attack against humanity."

Police cordoned off the area, located near the residence of Mohammad Mohaqiq, the deputy to Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah. A spokesman for Mohaqiq said he was not injured.

The neighborhood is also home to many Hazaras, a Shi'ite ethnic minority in predominantly Sunni Afghanistan.

Members of the group have been targeted by the Taliban and other Sunni extremists in Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan.

The attack took place on the one-year anniversary of an Islamic State (IS) bombing of a protest in Kabul that killed more than 80 people and wounded 230 others, most of them Hazaras.

The July 24 blast adds to the unrelenting violence in Afghanistan, where at least 1,662 civilians were killed in the first half of the year, according to the United Nations.

It came two weeks after the Islamic State extremist group claimed an attack on a mosque in the capital that killed at least four people.

It was also the 10th major attack this year in Kabul, which has accounted for at least 20 percent of all civilian casualties in Afghanistan in 2017.

The Taliban has launched a series of attacks around the country in recent days, prompting clashes in more than half a dozen provinces.

On July 23, the Taliban overran two districts in northern and central Afghanistan.

There was also fighting reported in Baghlan, Badakhshan, Kunduz, Kandahar, Helmand, and Uruzgan provinces, according to officials.

With reporting by AP, AFP, dpa, and Reuters