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KABUL, Afghanistan — A suicide attack followed by a car bombing rattled Afghanistan's capital on Tuesday, killing at least 38 people and wounding more than 70 others near the Afghan Parliament, officials said.
It was the first major attack in Kabul this year. Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi tweeted that one of the targets was a bus carrying civilians.
In addition, four police officers were among those killed, Sediqqi said.
The Taliban, which is waging a 15-year war against the U.S.-backed government, claimed the mid-afternoon attack not far from government and legislative offices.
Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman of the Afghan Taliban, confirmed that senior officers of Afghanistan's intelligence agency were among the prime targets of the blasts. Following the suicide attack, an explosives-laden car on the other side of the road was detonated as emergency crews arrived to help the wounded.
"We did exactly what we have planned," Mujahid said.
Ghulam Faroq Naziri, a lawmaker from the western Herat province, said another member of the Afghan Parliament from the same province, Rahima Jami, was wounded.
Afghan Sen. Nisar Haress told NBC News that he was in his office with his son when the first blast went off. No one was harmed inside.
"When I wanted to see what happened outside, the second attack happened," he said, adding that the street outside was "very crowded" at that moment and people were killed.
The bloodshed in Kabul wasn't the only blast to rock the nation Tuesday.
Earlier in the day, a suicide bomber on foot struck in the southern Helmand province, killing at least seven people, said Gen. Agha Noor Kemtoz, the provincial police chief. The target of the attack was a guesthouse used by a provincial intelligence official in Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital, he said.
Those killed include civilian and military personnel, and six others were wounded in the attack, Kemtoz said. A car full of explosives was found nearby.
No one claimed responsibility for the Helmand attack, but it bore the hallmarks of the Taliban.