Taliban insurgents have claimed responsibility for a deadly bombing in the Afghanistan's capital of Kabul.

At least 24 people were killed and another 42 wounded when a car laden with explosives rammed into a bus believed to be carrying government employees.

The attack took place in a western Kabul neighbourhood where several prominent politicians reside and at rush hour, as residents were heading to work and students were on their way to a nearby private high school, said Basir Mujahed, the spokesman.

"The bomber attacked at one of the busiest times of the day," the spokesman said. "There were traffic jams with people going to work and to the university and schools. Many of the shops had just opened."

The bus was completely destroyed, along with three other cars and several shops in the area, he said, adding children were among the wounded.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement quoted by AP that the attack targeted intelligence services and their employees.

He added the insurgents had monitored intelligence services for two months before carrying out the attack.

However, police in Kabul said the bus was carrying employees who worked for the mines and petroleum ministry.

The blast destroyed the bus, along with three other cars and some shops in the area.

The Interior Ministry called the attack "a criminal act against humanity".

President Ashraf Ghani said: "Once again, these terrorist are attacking civilians and targeting government staff."

The car bombing is the latest of a series of attacks that have rocked Kabul in recent months. It is also the second time in the past year that employees from the mines and petroleum ministry have been targeted.

Last October, an explosion struck a bus carrying ministry of mining and petroleum employees, killing several people in Kabul .

In May, a truck bomb attack killed at least 150 people and wounded more than 450 in the capital, in what was labelled as the deadliest single attack to target Afghanistan since the 2001 US-led invasion to tackle the Taliban insurgency.

The truck bombing sparked protests in the capital, with people calling for more security in Kabul. The rallies turned deadly, and between two and eight people were killed during clashes with police.

The Taliban, Sunni Islamic fundamentalist political movement, took control of Afghanistan in 1996, imposing a strict version of Islam and persecuting anyone who would not abide by their laws.

Although the Taliban rule ended in 2001, the insurgents still control some swathes of the country.

Kabul blast
Smoke is seen rising from the site of a car bomb attack in the western part of Kabul, Afghanistan, on 24 July 2017 Reuters TV