Explosions and erratic gunfire rang out Tuesday in a militant attack on a Kabul charity, which erupted hours after a double bombing carried out by the Taliban killed at least 25 people and left dozens of others wounded.
At least one person died in the assault on a charity called Pamlarena, which means care in Pashto, but it was unclear if the target was the international charity CARE.
A plume of smoke rose over the upscale neighbourhood of Shar-e Naw after the attack began when a third massive explosion jolted the Afghan capital late on Monday.
The attacks highlighted the precarious security climate in the capital just a month before a conference in Brussels where international donors are expected to pledge continued financial support to Afghanistan.
After several hours of quiet overnight, sporadic gunfire and explosions could be heard as day broke. Security officials evacuated terrified civilians from their offices and homes near the explosion site.
The battle ended when all three assailants were gunned down by Afghan forces, the interior ministry said.
"Forty-two people including 10 foreigners were rescued," ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said on Twitter, confirming at least one fatality in the attack.
He added that six people were also wounded in the assault.
Kabul traffic was blocked in several parts of the city and schools in the area were closed.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility and no word of any casualties.
Earlier on Monday, two Taliban bombers on foot blew themselves up in rapid succession near the Defence Ministry, in an assault apparently aimed at inflicting mass casualties as government employees left the ministry after work.
An army general and two senior police commanders were among the dead, a Defence Ministry official said.
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"The first explosion occurred on a bridge near the defence ministry. When soldiers, policemen and civilians rushed to the scene, there was the second explosion," ministry spokesman Mohammad Radmanish said.
The Italian-run Emergency Hospital in Kabul tweeted that it had so far received 21 injured people, four of whom died on arrival.
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President Ashraf Ghani strongly condemned the attack and offered condolences to the families of the victims.
"The enemies of Afghanistan have lost their ability to fight the Security and Defence Forces of the country," Ghani said in a statement.
"That is why they are attacking highways, cities, mosques, schools and common people."
The latest militant assault comes as the Taliban intensify their nationwide offensive against the US-backed government in Kabul
Claiming reponsibility for the attacks, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said that the defence ministry was the target of the first attack, while police were targeted in the second.
Two weeks ago 13 people were killed when a suicide attack targetted the American University in Kabul.
Afghan forces backed by US troops are seeking to head off a potential Taliban takeover of Lashkar Gah, the capital of the southern opium-rich province of Helmand.
The Taliban have also closed in on Kunduz — the northern city they briefly seized last year in their biggest military victory since the 2001 US invasion — leaving Afghan forces stretched on multiple fronts.
But NATO coalition forces have insisted that neither Kunduz nor Lashkar Gah are at risk of falling to the insurgents.