Afghan officials say a twin suicide bombing in the capital Kabul Tuesday killed more than 30 people and wounded some 80 others.
Witnesses say the insurgents targeted a convoy of officials leaving parliament offices. The death toll is likely to increase.
Top security officials, civilians and parliamentarians are said to be among the victims.
One suicide bomber blew himself up near parliament offices in the Darulaman area of the city moments before another bomber detonated his explosive-laden vehicle in a bid to maximize casualties.
Witnesses saw rescue workers and private citizens transporting victims to area hospitals but routine evening traffic jams hampered the movement.
The Taliban instantly claimed responsibility, saying the attack killed and wounded dozens of people. The insurgent group often issues inflated casualty toll for such attacks.
Amnesty International denounced the Taliban for showing no contempt to for civilian life and called for an immediate impartial and investigation to secure justice for the victims.
“The deaths of scores of civilians in today’s Kabul bomb attacks indicates that the Taliban are pressing ahead with a gruesome campaign of violence that makes no effort to spare civilian lives,’’ lamented the London-based rights watchdog.
In a separate incident, an explosion occurred in the southern city of Kandahar Tuesday evening, killing at least 11 people and wounding 18 others, including the provincial governor and the UAE ambassador.
The UAE said Wednesday the dead included five of its citizens who had been in Afghanistan to work on humanitarian, educational and development projects.
The incident occurred inside the governor's office where a meeting was underway, provincial security officials told VOA requesting anonymity.
Officials requesting anonymity told VOA the envoy along with some other wounded officials have been taken to a U.S. military hospital for treatment.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for what the UAE foreign ministry called a "heinous terrorist attack."
Earlier in the day, , a Taliban bomber stormed a meeting of local security officials and police personnel in Lashkargah, capital of Afghanistan’s largest southern province of Helmand.
That attack killed at least 10 people and wounded many more. The victims included civilians and military personnel, according to provincial officials.
Most of the territory in Helmand, a major poppy-growing Afghan region, is controlled by the Taliban. The Kabul government fully controls only the provincial capital.