At least 36 people were killed and scores wounded in an apparent suicide bomb attack outside a bank in the eastern city of Jalalabad, police officials in Afghanistan said on Saturday.
Most of the bank’s patrons are government workers and military personnel who use the facility to receive their wages.
Police said that the blast was so powerful that it destroyed shops in a nearby marketplace.
The Taliban immediately denied any responsibility in the bomb attack.
“We reject and condemn the explosions against civilians near a bank and a shrine in Jalalabad,” Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said in a Tweet shortly after the blast.
There were unconfirmed local media reports that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, or ISIS) had claimed responsibility.
Another bomb blast near a shrine left no casualties, police said; a third bomb was defused by police.
The bomb attack, which was condemned by Afghanistan President Ghani, is believed to be the most deadly in months.
Attacks carried out by the Taliban against the government and the few international troops that remain in the country have steadily increased in recent months.
In the nearby Ghazni province, south of Kabul, five people were shot and killed on Saturday, police said.
The Obama Administration has slowed its troop withdrawal and is expected to keep at least 9,800 US military personnel in the country until the end of 2015.
The BRICS POST with inputs from Agencies