Taliban suicide bombers attacked a convoy of buses carrying Afghan police cadets outside the capital Kabul on Thursday, killing 37 people and injuring 40 more, officials said.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in an email sent by spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid. The attack came just over a week after the bombing of a bus carrying Nepali security guards working for the Canadian embassy in Kabul that killed 14 people.
The first suicide bomber struck two buses carrying trainee policemen, and a second attacker targeted those who rushed to the site to help and also hit a third bus, Paghman district governor Mousa Rahmati said. He said four civilians were among the 37 dead.
The cadets were returning to Kabul from a training centre in Wardak province when the convoy was targeted 20 km west of the capital.
The interior ministry put the death toll at 30 and said 58 others were wounded. It was not immediately possible to reconcile the different casualty figures.
President Ashraf Ghani described the bombing as an “attack on humanity” and ordered an interior ministry investigation into the incident. In a statement, the US embassy in Kabul condemned the attack.
Later on Thursday, an attack on a security forces convoy in eastern Ghazni province killed two people and wounded four, said Jaweed Salangi, spokesman for the provincial governor. A senior intelligence official was among the dead. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack in Ghazni.
The Taliban have stepped up their attacks as part of their summer offensive. They frequently target convoys of Afghan troops or buses carrying government employees.
In April, 64 people were killed when the Taliban targeted a security services facility in Kabul. This was the deadliest terror attack in Afghanistan in five years.