KABUL, Afghanistan, March 29 (UPI) -- The death toll from a suicide bomb attack on a construction company in Afghanistan's eastern Paktika province has risen to at least 24, authorities said.
The Sunday night attack in Barmal district was carried out by three suicide bombers who rammed their explosives-laden vehicle into the construction company's building, The Washington Post reported, quoting a spokesman for the provincial governor.
The construction workers were eating when they were attacked, the spokesman said, adding at least 59 more people were wounded.
The report said the Taliban later claimed responsibility for the attack, seen as intended to show the militants' strength ahead of the fighting season in the spring.
The Taliban claimed responsibility a day earlier for the abduction of about 50 people in eastern Kunar province, The Post said.
NATO commanders expect the Taliban to stage more attacks to show the world they remain strong despite the strong offensive mounted by coalition forces during the winter.
"The loss of innocent civilian life in this hateful, un-Islamic insurgent attack is heart-wrenching," U.S. Rear Adm. Vic Beck, International Security Assistance Force director of public affairs, said in a statement.