KABUL : An explosion hit a minibus in the Afghan capital , Kabul , early on Monday, killing at least 14 people, a government official said said, although it was not immediately clear who was on board the bus.

Interior Minister spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said that eight others were wounded in the attack. The dead were all Nepalese who were riding in a minibus to work when the bomber attacked, said police officials in the eastern part of Kabul , where the attack happened

"The suicide bomber targeted a minibus of security guards of a foreign company, right now we are working to identify the nationalities of the victims," said Sediqqi.

But a police official told The Associated Press that the 14 dead were Nepalese citizens working as security guards for the private company that was attacked.

Earlier, Basir Mujahid, a spokesman for Kabul police, said the suicide bomber had targeted a minibus that appeared to be from a logistics company, although it was not clear whether the victims were Afghans or Nepalese security contractors. He said he could not confirm the number of victims. Other police had said earlier the bus could have been carrying government employees on their way to work.

Police and emergency service vehicles rushed to the scene in the Banae district of the city.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack. Taliban insurgents have increased their attacks on both government employees and Afghan security forces across the country.

The attack was the latest in a recent surge of violence that highlights the challenges faced by the Afghan government in Kabul and its Western backers as Washington slowly draws down its remaining troops despite a persistent insurgency.

It attack underlined how serious the security threat facing Afghanistan remains since the death of former Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour in a US drone strike last month.

The blast follows a deadly suicide attack on a bus carrying justice ministry staff near Kabul last month and a separate attack on a court in the central city of Ghazni on June 1.

The Taliban claimed both those attacks in revenge for the execution of six Taliban prisoners.