At least 31 killed in blasts outside American University of Afghanistan

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(Image: MGN Online)

(CNN) — Two suicide bombings targeted a van Tuesday carrying administrative staffers of the Afghan parliament in the capital of Kabul, killing at least 31 people and injuring others, officials said.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the blasts, which officials said happened on a road near the parliament compound and the private American University of Afghanistan in Kabul.

Besides the 31 dead, 45 others were injured, said Saleem Rasooli, head of Kabul hospitals. Video distributed by Reuters showed numerous armed security personnel standing near the scene.

The violence began when a suicide attacker on foot detonated a bomb near the van, Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Seddiqi said. The second blast came from a vehicle that exploded when police arrived to help victims, said Ahmad Wali, a Kabul district police chief.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said the Taliban were targeting members of the Afghanistan’s intelligence agency.

The blasts happened in the late afternoon on Darulaman Road, according to the university.

The university was at least indirectly affected by attacks and kidnappings by Taliban-linked insurgents last year.

In August, two teachers — an American and an Australian — were abducted near the school. Days later, a rescue attempt by US Special Operations forces from SEAL Team 6 failed when the teachers were not found at the targeted location.

Three weeks after the kidnappings, gunmen wearing suicide vests stormed the campus and killed 12 people, including students, security guards and police.

The American University of Afghanistan opened in 2006. It’s the only private, nonprofit, coed university in that country and has about 1,700 full- and part-time students. The school is regarded as a symbol of cooperation between Afghanistan and the United States.