The Taliban claimed responsibility for the two bombings that detonated in a crowded area outside of the Defense Ministry buildings in Kabul. The two blasts killed at least 24 and wounded 91. The first explosion occurred near a bridge outside of the Defense Ministry, and as police and other first responders arrived to help the wounded, a second explosion occurred. According to Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, the first explosion targeted the Defense Ministry and the police were the target of the second.

Defense Ministry spokesman Mohammad Radmanesh said there had been two blasts in quick succession in a crowded area of the city near government buildings as well as a market and a main intersection.

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.

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.

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. – Reuters

The Taliban have targeted the Afghan government and places with Western influences, such as the American University in Kabul, over the past several months, and the trend is expected to continue. President Ashraf Ghani gave a statement after the recent attacks: “The enemies of Afghanistan are losing the fight in the ground battle with security forces. That is why they are attacking highways, cities, mosques, schools, and ordinary people.”

Image courtesy of Reuters