A Taliban suicide bomb and gun assault in an area near the defence ministry and the US embassy has killed at least 28 people, and wounded more than 320 in Kabul, Afghanistan. Among those killed and wounded were civilians and members of the Afghan security forces.

The attack, which happened during morning rush hour on 19 April, was the worst single militant strike in the Afghan capital since the 2011 suicide blast outside a mosque that resulted in the deaths of 60 people.

kabul suicide car bomb
A forensic expert climbs through a window of a government security building after a blast in KabulAhmad Masood/Reuters
kabul suicide car bomb
Afghan security personnel keep watch at the site of the car bomb attack in the Puli Mahmood Khan neighbourhood of KabulShah Marai/AFP
kabul suicide car bomb
An injured member of the security forces leaves the site of a suicide car bomb attack in Kabul, AfghanistanOmar Sobhani/Reuters

The Taliban took responsibility for the attack on their Pashto-language website, saying that they carried out the suicide bombing on "Department 10," a National Directorate of Security (NDS) unit that is responsible for protecting government ministers and VIPS. They then went on to say that the main gate at the front of the office had been blown up by a suicide car bomber that allowed other fighters, many of whom were also suicide bombers, to enter the heavily guarded compound.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a separate statement that the attackers engaged in a gunbattle with Afghan security forces inside the building.

kabul suicide car bomb
An Afghan man receives treatment at a hospital after a suicide car bomb attack in Kabul, AfghanistanOmar Sobhani/Reuters
kabul suicide car bomb
Afghan security forces keep watch after a suicide car bomb attack on a government security building in KabulMohammad Ismail/Reuters
kabul suicide car bomb
An Afghan National Army (ANA) soldier blocks a road near the site of a car bomb attack at the gate of a government office in the Puli Mahmood Khan neighbourhood of KabulShah Marai/AFP
kabul suicide car bomb
Afghan policemen stand guard at the site of a suicide car bomb attack on a government security building in KabulMohammad Ismail/Reuters
kabul suicide car bomb
Afghan security forces climb up on to the roof of a government security building after a suicide car bomb attack in KabulMohammad Ismail/Reuters
kabul suicide car bomb
Afghan security forces assist an injured man after an attack on a government security building in KabulMohammad Ismail/Reuters
kabul suicide car bomb
A man arrives for treatment at a hospital after a suicide car bomb attack in KabulOmar Sobhani/Reuters
kabul suicide car bomb
Residents walk past damaged shops after a suicide car bomb attack on a government security building in KabulMohammad Ismail/Reuters

One witness, Amir, who works in a nearby restaurant, told Reuters: "I was here when a huge explosion happened. I saw three boys with severe head injuries. My uncle was injured and my brother is missing, I don't know what happened to him."

The incident came just a week after the Taliban announced its annual spring offensive, vowing "large-scale attacks" against government strongholds in a bid to oust the Western-backed leadership from power.

kabul suicide car bomb
A forensic expert inspects outside a government security building after a blast in KabulAhmad Masood/Reuters
kabul suicide car bomb
A member of the Afghan security force stands on a government security building after a suicide car bomb attack in KabulMohammad Ismail/Reuters
kabul suicide car bomb
Afghan security forces stand next to damaged vehicles after a blast in Kabul, AfghanistanAhmad Masood/Reuters
kabul suicide car bomb
An Afghan policeman keeps watch near the site of a car bomb attack in the Puli Mahmood Khan neighbourhood in KabulWakhil Kohsar/AFP
kabul suicide car bomb
A man receives treatment at a hospital after a suicide car bomb attack in KabulOmar Sobhani/Reuters
kabul suicide car bomb
A wounded man receives treatment at Wazir Akbar Khan hospital in Kabul following a suicide car bomb attack on the NDS compoundWakil Kohsar/AFP
kabul suicide car bomb
A wounded man gets his leg X-rayed at the Wazir Akbar Khan hospital following a suicide car bomb attack at the National Directorate of Security compound in KabulWakhil Kohsar/AFP
kabul suicide car bomb
An Afghan policeman takes up position at the site of a suicide car bomb attack in Kabul, AfghanistanOmar Sobhani/Reuters