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Taliban claims responsibility for twin bombings in Afghanistan

Army and police personnel as well as civilians rushing to help victims of the first blast were caught in the second explosion, triggered when a suicide bomber blew himself up.

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    Injured policemen are transported at the back of a police vehicle after a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday.
    Mohammad Ismail/Reuters
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Twin bombings near the Afghan Defense Ministry have killed at least 24 people in an attack claimed by the Taliban.

Public Health Ministry spokesman Ismail Kawasi says another 91 people were wounded in Monday's attack. Army and police personnel as well as civilians rushing to help victims of the first blast were caught in the second explosion, triggered when a suicide bomber blew himself up. Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said a district police chief and five other police officers were among those killed.

Deputy Defense Ministry spokesman Mohammad Radmanish said the second bombing was caused by a suicide attacker who struck the area of the first blast after security forces gathered there. He said civilians, police and soldiers were among those killed in the attack, which came as ministry employees were leaving their offices for the day.

President Ashraf Ghani condemned the attack in a statement, saying "the enemies of Afghanistan have lost their ability to fight the Security and Defense Forces of the country and thus attack highways, cities, mosques, schools and common people."

The attacks came, less than two weeks after a deadly attack on the city's American University.

"A total of 13 people died at the school, a toll that included security guards, students, and lecturers," The Christian Science Monitor reported. "It was a major blow to a community already roiled by the kidnapping two weeks ago of two teachers, an American and Australian who have not been heard from since."

“People are living in great fear right now, there is huge hopelessness in Kabul and throughout the country,” Shahla Farid, a professor of political science at Kabul University, told The Monitor.

The Taliban, who have stepped up their campaign against the Western-backed government in recent weeks, following a brief lull after the death of their former leader, Mullah Akhtar Mansour, claimed responsibility for the attack. The insurgents have been fighting to overthrow the U.S.-backed government for 15 years, and frequently target Afghan security forces.

Government officials have been preparing for a conference in Brussels next month at which foreign donors, concerned about the ability of the Afghan security forces to withstand Taliban violence, are expected to pledge continuing support over coming years.

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This report contains material from Reuters.

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