Scores of people have been wounded after a car bomb explosion rocked Kabul, followed by a battle between gunmen and special forces in an area housing military and government buildings.
Health ministry officials said at least 100 people were wounded, including 35 children, who were taken to hospital, but the casualties were likely to rise.
The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the rush-hour explosion which sent a plume of smoke into the air above the Puli Mahmood Khan neighborhood of the Afghan capital.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said the insurgents had targeted a defense ministry building in the area.
A government security official said at least three gunmen entered the building after the explosives were detonated near the ministry’s engineering and logistics department.
The explosion came as the US was about to begin a third day of negotiations with the Taliban in Doha.
The talks have so far centred on four issues — counter-terrorism, the foreign troop presence, an intra-Afghan dialogue and a permanent ceasefire.
In the previous round of US-Taliban peace talks earlier this year, the two sides “agreed in draft” on the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan in return for a Taliban guarantee that the group’s elements would not attack US forces.