Two women doctors working at an Afghan prison with hundreds of Taliban inmates were among five people killed Tuesday in a bomb attack, officials said, in the latest of several targeted killings in Kabul.
Deadly violence has rocked Kabul and several provinces across the country in recent months, despite the Taliban and the government engaging in peace talks.
Tuesday's blast happened in the south of the capital as the doctors were on their way to Pul-e-Charkhi prison when a bomb attached to their car exploded, Kabul police spokesman Ferdaws Faramarz said.
Two women doctors and two prison employees in the car -- as well as a pedestrian -- were killed, while a third woman doctor was wounded, Afghanistan's prison authority said.
The local Islamic State group affiliate claimed responsibility for the attack.
Hundreds of Taliban fighters and other criminals are incarcerated at Pul-e-Charkhi, on the eastern outskirts of Kabul.
"The terrorist groups including the Taliban who have faced defeat on the battlefields are targeting civilians in the cities, highways and public facilities," President Ashraf Ghani said in a statement.
"This is a sign of their desperation and defeat."
Ross Wilson, the top US envoy in Kabul, also condemned the attack.
"It is shocking to learn of the deaths of Office of Prison Authority doctors, who work tirelessly each day to save vulnerable lives, especially during a pandemic when frontline medical personnel are desperately needed," he said on Twitter.
- Surge in violence-
Violence across Afghanistan has surged in recent months, including in Kabul where targeted killings of prominent figures, including journalists, politicians and rights activists have become more common.
Islamic group has claimed responsibility for some of the recent attacks in the capital, which have killed dozens of people.
Tuesday's attack came just two days after a car bomb targeting a lawmaker killed 10 people and wounded more than 50 in Kabul.
Lawmaker Khan Mohammad Wardak was wounded in that blast.
Days before that incident, deputy Kabul province governor Mahbobullah Mohebi was killed in a similar attack.
On Monday, an Afghan journalist was shot dead by gunmen in the eastern city of Ghazni in what appeared to be another targeted killing.
Rahmatullah Nekzad had contributed to the Associated Press news agency since 2007 and also previously worked with the Al-Jazeera network.
The same day, Afghan officials said security forces beat back a Taliban assault further north in Faryab province.
The insurgents detonated a car bomb that killed three security personnel in Dawlat Abad district, according to provincial police spokesman Karim Yourish.
Officials in northern Kunduz province also reported sporadic clashes after two separate checkpoints were attacked by the Taliban, with authorities providing differing figures on casualties.