Asia

Kabul suicide car bomb: 30 killed in Afghan capital

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Media captionThe blast is one of many to have struck Kabul this year. Video: Ahmad Shuja

A suicide car bomb has exploded in the Afghan capital, Kabul, killing at least 30 people, officials have told the BBC.

At least 42 people were injured in the blast and there are fears the number of casualties could rise.

The blast in the west of the city, in a mainly Shia district, struck a bus carrying government employees from the ministry of mines, officials said.

The Taliban said they had carried out the attack and were targeting intelligence service officials.

Kabul has seen a number of deadly attacks this year blamed on the Taliban or so-called Islamic State.

Security forces cordoned off the area of Monday's blast, which took place during the rush hour.

Images showed the burned out shell of the bus being removed.

Image caption The wrecked bus is removed from the site
Image caption The blast struck a mainly Shia district in the west of the city

Three vehicles and 15 shops were damaged or destroyed.

The district where the blast occurred is home to many of the minority Shia Hazara community.

The blast was close to the home of deputy government Chief Executive Mohammad Mohaqiq, a leader of the Hazara community.

There have been several recent attacks in the district, including one that killed senior Shia cleric Ramazan Hussainzada last month.

President Ashraf Ghani condemned the latest attack on "civilians and government staff", while the interior ministry denounced it as "a criminal act against humanity".

A Taliban spokesman claimed the bus had been under surveillance for months and was carrying "intelligence workers".

According to the United Nations, the country has seen at least 1,662 civilian deaths in the first half of the year with around 20% of those in the capital.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Monday's blast took place during the rush hour

On 31 May, a huge bombing in central Kabul killed more than 150 people, the deadliest militant attack in the country since US-led forces ousted the Taliban from power in 2001.

Last month, at least 34 people were killed and 58 injured when a car bomb was detonated outside a bank in the southern province of Helmand.

US President Donald Trump is weighing up whether to increase the number of US troops who are aiding the Afghan military and police.

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