At least four people died and nearly a dozen were injured in the attack, TRT World sources say. Taliban militants claim responsibility for the attack targeting the non-profit Counterpart International in Shahr Naw area of the Afghan capital.

Smoke rises from the site of a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan on May 8, 2019.
Smoke rises from the site of a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan on May 8, 2019. (Reuters)

Afghan security forces exchanged sporadic gunfire on Wednesday with attackers who used a car bomb blast to invade the compound of an international aid group in Kabul, injuring more than a dozen people, authorities said.

Sources told TRT World at least four people died in the attacm.

Officials at the city's Emergency Hospital said they had received 15 wounded.

Taliban militants claimed responsibility for the attack that targeted the non-profit Counterpart International in the upscale Shahr Naw area of the capital.

Occasional gunshots and explosions were heard as special forces, backed by advisers from foreign forces, surrounded the site and engaged the attackers in a stand-off.

Authorities cordoned off the area, sending ambulances and police trucks.

Interior ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said at least 80 employees of the aid group were rescued and security forces were clearing buildings there.

"Two floors of the building have been cleared and to avoid civilian casualties, the operation is being undertaken with caution," Rahimi said.

Officials of aid group Counterpart, which is headquartered in the United States and has operated in Afghanistan since 2005, were not immediately available to comment.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack, saying the aid group was working closely with government departments, promoting women, which is opposed by the militant group.

Before it was toppled following the US invasion in late 2001, the Taliban regime enforced Sharia-derived law that barred women from working outside their homes alone, and required them to be accompanied by a male relative, just like in Saudi Arabia.

Wednesday's bombing comes after Taliban militants vowed to attack the Afghan government and foreign installations in their annual spring offensive.

The blast comes just over two weeks after gunmen targeted the communications ministry in central Kabul, killing at least seven people in an attack claimed by Daesh.

Despite stepping up security at checkpoints around Kabul, Afghan authorities have failed to stop attacks that have killed and wounded hundreds of people and undermined confidence in the government.

Even as a sixth round of talks between the US and the Taliban continues in Qatar, the militant group has kept up its attacks.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies