An explosion went off on Tuesday at the entrance of a military hospital in Kabul, killing three people and wounding at least 16, health officials said.
The blast went off at the entrance to the Sardar Mohammad Dawood Khan military hospital, the spokesman of the Taliban-run Interior Ministry, Saeed Khosty, wrote in a tweet. He added that special forces were at the scene.
City residents had reported two explosions in the area of the hospital in Kabul's 10th district, along with the sound of gunfire.
Later Tuesday, Sayed Abdullah Ahmadi, the director of the nearby Wazir Akbar Khan hospital, said his facility had received three bodies and seven people who were injured in the blast.
Another nine injured were taken to the Afghanistan Emergency Hospital.
Meanwhile, a health ministry official who asked not to be named told AFP that “19 dead bodies and about 50 wounded people have been taken to hospitals in Kabul.”
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. But the official Bakhtar news agency quoted witnesses saying a number of fighters from the militant Islamic State (IS) group entered the hospital and clashed with security forces.
In recent weeks, the IS has carried out a series of bombing and shooting attacks. IS is a rival of the Taliban, and has stepped up attacks since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in a swift military campaign in August.
Photographs shared by residents showed a plume of smoke over the area of the blasts near the former diplomatic zone in the Wazir Akbar Khan area in central Kabul.
The blasts add to a growing list of attacks and killings since the Taliban completed their victory over the previous Western-backed government in August, undermining their claim to have restored security to Afghanistan after decades of war.
IS mounted a complex attack on the 400-bed hospital in 2017, killing more than 30 people.
A health worker at the hospital, who managed to escape the site, said he heard a large explosion followed by a couple of minutes of gunfire. About ten minutes later, there was a second, larger explosion, he said.
He said it was unclear whether the blasts and the gunfire were inside the sprawling hospital complex, the largest military hospital in Afghanistan.