At least 34 people were killed and 68 others injured after a powerful blast rocked the Afghan capital of Kabul on Monday, authorities said.
A witness told Xinhua news agency that militants had entered an under-construction building in the high security Pul-i-Mahmoud Khan area and were exchanging fire with the security forces who reached the area to control the situation.
According to the witness, the militants first detonated their explosives-laden car and then began firing.
The area is close to a branch of the the Defence Ministry building, a sports stadium, a branch of the Information and Culture Ministry and houses.
Following the explosion, which could be heard several kilometres away, a huge rising column of smoke could be seen, reports Efe news.
No militant group has claimed responsibility for the attack yet.
Monday’s attack comes when a Taliban delegation and US representatives are carrying out the seventh round of meetings in Qatar to discuss peace negotiations in Afghanistan.
Both sides are seeking a way out of nearly two decades of armed conflict in the nation, although, so far the Taliban have refused to negotiate with the Afghan government.