The Taliban has attacked targets in different parts of the Afghan capital, Kabul, including a police headquarters in the western part of the city, killing at least 16 people and wounding dozens.
A suicide car bomber on Wednesday struck an Afghan police precinct in western Kabul, the interior ministry said.
Immediately after the blast, gunfire rang out, witnesses told Al Jazeera, in a continuing attack which sent clouds of acrid smoke billowing into the sky.
Shortly after, a suicide bomber blew himself up at the gates of an Afghan intelligence agency branch in eastern Kabul as another attacker was gunned down while trying to enter the compound, according to the ministry.
“Unfortunately, 16 people have been killed in the two attacks in Kabul,” said Waheed Majroh, a spokesman for the Afghan health ministry, adding that a further 44 people were wounded.
A Taliban spokesman claimed the group inflicted heavy casualties.
Police sources told Al Jazeera that a suicide car bomber detonated an explosives-laden vehicle next to the police station and near a military training centre.
The explosions were large enough to be heard outside of the city.
The UN Security Council “condemned in the strongest terms the heinous and cowardly terrorist attacks”, and urged states to cooperate with Afghan authorities to bring “perpetrators, organisers, financiers and sponsors” of such acts to justice.
Afghan security forces are battling a resurgent Taliban amid record casualties and mass desertions, as the fighters escalate nationwide attacks even in winter months, when the fighting usually wanes.
Repeated bids to launch peace negotiations with the Taliban have failed and an intense new fighting season is expected to kick off in the spring.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies