July 1 (UPI) -- Dozens of Afghans were killed and more than 100 were wounded, including many children, in a car bomb explosion in the Afghan capital on Monday.
Authorities said almost 50 children were among the 105 injured in the blast, for which the Taliban claimed responsibility, Tolo News reported.
Officials say the attack left up to 40 people dead, many security force members, the Washington Post reported.
The Taliban said in a statement that it had killed "dozens of [Department of Justice] officers and soldiers" in the attack.
Interior Ministry spokesman Nusrat Rahimi said the car bomb was detonated in Kabul targeting the Ministry of Defense's logistics and engineering center, located in a township where more than 100 families reside.
The Afghanistan Football Federation, which is in the vicinity of the blast, said it caused "serious injury" to players and staff. Some, it said, were cut with glass as a result of the explosion.
Special forces officers cordoned off an area where they exchanged fire with five attackers. Authorities reported that all five had been killed by Monday afternoon following an eight-hour gunfight.
Afghanistan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah said the attack puts on display the Taliban's "inherent criminal nature."
"We will not be deterred by such outrage to pursue and punish the miscreants," he said on Twitter.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said via Twitter that the explosion was followed by "multiple martyrdom seekers" who engaged in a firefight with Afghan forces.
The U.S. Embassy, which is in the vicinity, said it has not been impacted by the attack.
"We strongly condemn the Taliban's latest brutal attack against fellow Afghans," it tweeted.
Earlier, Mustafa Kazemi, director of police organizational communications for the Ministry of Interior Affairs, reported the explosion occurred at about 8:55 a.m.
"I was too close to the area but safe," he said. "Ears are still blocked."
The White House condemned the attack Monday night, saying it "demonstrates the Taliban's callous disregard for their fellow Afghans, who repeatedly voice the urgency of finding a peaceful resolution to the conflict."
The attack came amid ongoing negotiations between the United States and the Taliban in Qatar over U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, counterterrorism assurances, a cease-fire and intra-Afghan negotiations.
There has been a recent increase in attacks in Afghanistan by the Taliban. Prior to the car bombing in Kabul, Mujahid said that there had been 52 operations within the past 24 hours, resulting in almost 200 people killed.
Despite the recent uptick in violence, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Sibghat Ahmadi is optimistic about starting intra-Afghan talks within the coming weeks.
"The Afghan government is ready for unconditional talks with the Taliban given that achievements of Afghanistan are protected," he said.