At least 14 people were killed and 145 injured after a car bomb exploded outside a police station in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul, PTI reported, quoting Deputy Interior Minister General Khoshal Sadat.

The Taliban extremist group has reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack.

The bomb went off when a vehicle was stopped at a checkpoint outside the police station, Interior Ministry spokesperson Nasrat Rahimi said according to Reuters. The blast occurred during the morning rush hour in the west of the city and sent a massive plume of smoke over the capital. The injured people were taken to hospitals, an unidentified health ministry spokesperson said, adding that most of them were civilians.

The Taliban claimed that a “recruitment centre” had been attacked by one of their suicide bombers. “A large number of soldiers and police were killed or wounded,” Reuters quoted Taliban as saying in a statement.

Violence has steadily increased across Afghanistan and in Kabul, even as the United States and the Taliban negotiate a peace deal ahead of elections planned for September 28. According to the United Nations, more than 1,500 civilians were killed or wounded in the Afghan conflict in July alone. This is the highest monthly toll so far in 2019 and the worst single month since May 2017, AFP reported.