Afghan police say two suicide bombers have struck Kabul in attacks claimed by the Taliban, killing at least 16 people and wounding about 40.
One suicide car bomber rammed his explosives-laden car into the compound gates of a district police headquarters in western Kabul as part of a coordinated attack on March 1, Interior Ministry deputy spokesman Najib Danish said.
Danish said several militants stormed into the compound and engaged police in a gunbattle inside the facility.
Thick smoke billowed above the police compound, and several rounds of small arms fire as well as other explosions were heard.
The battle took place in an area that was not far from a military training school.
Meanwhile, Danish said a second suicide bomber walked up to an office in eastern Kabul of Afghanistan's national intelligence agency, the National Directorate of Security, and detonated his explosives.
He said at least two people were wounded in that attack.
Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, claimed responsibility for both attacks on behalf of the militant group.
The attacks came at a time when the Taliban normally announces its annual spring offensive.
The Taliban in Afghanistan is seeking to reimpose its rule after being driven from power following a U.S.-led invasion in the wake of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
Afghan government forces have struggled to control the Taliban insurgency since the NATO-led coalition ended its combat mission in 2014 and most foreign combat forces withdrew.
According to U.S. estimates, the Afghan government now controls less than 60 percent of the country, though its forces have managed to hold on to all of the main provincial centers.
Afghan forces now face mounting pressure from a resurgent Taliban amid record casualties and mass desertions as the militants escalate attacks across the country.
Last month, a suicide bomber killed at least 20 people outside Afghanistan's Supreme Court in Kabul. The so-called Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility for that attack.
With reporting by AP, Reuters, AFP, and dpa