Afghan security forces inspect the site of a suicide attack on the outskirts of Kabul. (Rahmat Gul/AP)
Afghan security forces inspect the site of a suicide attack on the outskirts of Kabul. (Rahmat Gul/AP)

KABUL (Diya TV) — Dozens of Afghan police cadets were killed Thursday when two Taliban suicide bombers targeted their convoy in one of the deadliest attacks in the region in months.

The attack comes just days after three suicide bombers of the Islamic State targeted Turkey’s Ataturk Airport in Istanbul.

The Afghan Interior Ministry said at least 30 cadets were killed and 58 others were wounded in the attack. The cadets were returning to Kabul for the Muslim religious festival of Eid after completing their training in the Wardak province when one of their buses was rammed by a suicide bomber in a car. A police official who declined to be named because he was not authorized to speak on the matter said the death toll was higher.

A second bomber detonated explosives after police and locals rushed to the scene of the attack. Several civilians were killed as well, residents said.

“As residents and other police in the convoy moved to evacuate the casualties of the first blast, another suicide bomber, possibly on foot, blew himself up among them,” said a witness who gave his name as Hamidullah.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

President Ashraf Ghani denounced the attack as a “crime against humanity.” His government is currently locked in a power struggle as it faces growing threats from the Islamic State, as well as the Taliban. Ghani said the bombings were a sign of the Taliban’s “defeat on the battlefield.”

The attack represents the deadliest on security forces since April, when Taliban militants used a suicide truck bomb to attack a compound housing an intelligence training office in the capital city. At least 64 were reportedly killed in the attack. Additionally, 14 Nepali security guards were killed earlier this month when a bus they were riding on in the capital was attacked by another suicide bomber.

Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said more than 400 police cadets were riding in the convoy that was attacked Thursday, residents said their buses were clearly marked. Ghani said he has ordered an investigation into how the cadets were being transported to see if any negligence was involved.

“Why are they transporting so many police in marked police buses in the face of past deadly attacks?” asked one resident, Mohammad Bashir. “Why can’t the government learn from past mistakes?”

The U.S. Embassy in Kabul called the bombings “abhorrent,” and indicative of a “cruel and complete disregard for human life.” It said in a statement, “We will continue to stand with our Afghan partners and friends as they work to bring peace and security to Afghanistan.”

The U.S. are widening its military campaign against the Taliban in the nation, authorizing offensive airstrikes against the group just earlier this month. Previously, airstrikes against the Taliban were only permitted when considered a defensive move. U.S. officials have said the airstrikes will only take place when they are deemed to have a significant impact on the fight.