The Afghan capital was hit by a series of suicide attacks last month as the Taliban stepped up their campaign against the Western-backed government. They coincided with renewed efforts to revive a peace process with the Islamist insurgent movement that stalled last year.

The Interior Ministry said in a statement that 20 people had been killed and 29 others wounded in the bombing.

In a separate statement, the NATO mission condemned the attack, which it said killed 20 police officers and wounded 25 others as well as seven Afghan civilians.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement that said 40 police officers had been killed or wounded. The group often makes exaggerated casualty claims for its attacks.

Ambulances and police vehicles rushed to the explosion site in the crowded Dehmazang district west of the city, near the Kabul traffic directorate, which is visited by those seeking driving licences and other documents.

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