Taliban suicide car bombers struck a police convoy in the Afghan capital, Kabul, Thursday, killing at nearly 40 security personnel and wounding scores of others.
The convoy was transporting cadets and trainers when it came under attack.
Afghan officials confirmed there were back-to-back blasts. Eyewitnesses told VOA they saw police personnel evacuating dead and wounded.
President Ashraf Ghani condemned the terrorist attack as “a crime against humanity.” He ordered the interior ministry to probe how the decision on transportation of the cadets was made and promised“follow-up actions” in the event of any negligence.
“While Muslims are busying praying during this holy month of Ramadan, Taliban keep committing reprehensible crimes by killing innocent people and spreading fear and terror among them,” a presidential palace statement quoted Ghani as saying.
The victims were traveling in buses to Kabul from the central eastern Maidan Wardak province for Eid, the major festival marking the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
NATO’s Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan expressed its condolences over the attack. "The Taliban have once again shown their total disregard for human life. Their increased use of improvised explosive devises are taking a very heavy toll on the Afghan people," said Brig. Gen. Charles Cleveland, Resolute Support Deputy Chief of Staff, Communication.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the bombing. In a statement sent to reporters, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said a suicide bomber rammed his explosives-filed car into the convoy.
Mujahid added, a second bomber then struck police officers who had gathered around the site of the first blast. He claimed at least 150 Afghan forces were killed, but the insurgent group often exaggerates the toll in such attacks.
The deadly bombing came a week after a Taliban suicide bomber attacked a bus carrying mostly Nepalese security guards working for the Canadian embassy in Kabul. The blast killed 14 people, mostly Nepalese nationals.