MOSCOW — A car bomb exploded in the Afghan capital of Kabul, killing 27 people and injuring 35, the official Soviet press agency Tass said today.
Tass, quoting the Afghan news agency Bakhtar, said the bomb was planted by "counterrevolutionaries," or Muslim rebels fighting the Soviet-backed Afghan government.
It said the death toll was particularly high because the bomb was planted in a heavily built-up residential area.
Tass said the bomb exploded Thursday evening near the Shirpur mosque in central Kabul. It said nearby buildings sustained heavy damage but gave no further details.
The bomb was the worst reported rebel attack in Kabul since Afghan leader Najibullah announced a national reconciliation plan at the start of the year intended to end eight years of war between guerrillas and the Soviet-backed Afghan army.
Najibullah declared a unilateral cease-fire, but the rebels rejected it and have continued fighting, aided by supplies of sophisticated Western weaponry including U.S.-made Stinger anti-aircraft missiles.
Previous attacks in Kabul since the cease-fire was announced included a car bomb explosion near the Indian Embassy that killed at least four people and a rebel missile attack on a Kabul bus depot, both in February.
In May, after former Afghan leader Babrak Karmal left for medical treatment in the Soviet Union, a bomb went off in the Kabul bazaar but there were no reported injuries.
The Soviet Union, which has about 115,000 troops in Afghanistan according to Western estimates, has said it is willing to withdraw its forces if the United States, Pakistan and other countries end their aid to the rebels.