AT least 95 people have been killed and another 158 were injured after a suicide bombing in the Afghan capital Kabul.

The bombing came just a week after Taliban militants killed 22 at the Intercontinental Hotel in the city.

The attacker used the ambulance to get through a security checkpoint in central Kabul, telling police he was taking a patient to a nearby hospital, said Nasrat Rahimi, deputy spokesperson for the Interior Ministry.

He then detonated his explosives at a second checkpoint.

"The majority of the dead in the attack are civilians, but of course we have military casualties as well," Rahimi said.

He said four suspects had been arrested and were being questioned but he didn't elaborate.

The bombing sent thick, black smoke into the sky from the site near the government's former Interior Ministry building.

Also nearby are the European Union and Indian consulates.

The powerful explosion was felt throughout the capital and covered the blast area in smoke and dust.

At the scene, dozens of vehicles were damaged or destroyed. Several shops, including some selling antiques and photography equipment, were also destroyed.

Windows at nearby Jamhuriat government hospital were shattered and its walls damaged. People ran out to help and ambulances arrived to transport dozens of wounded to area hospitals.

The International Committee of the Red Cross condemned the attack in a tweet, saying: "The use of an ambulance in today's attack in #Kabul is harrowing. This could amount to perfidy under [international humanitarian law]. Unacceptable and unjustifiable."

It was the second successful Taliban attack in a week on high security targets in the city.

Last Saturday, six Taliban militants attacked the Intercontinental Hotel, leaving 22 people dead, including 14 foreigners.

Some 150 guests fled the gun battle and fire sparked by the assault by climbing down bedsheets from the upper floors.

The US State Department said multiple American citizens were killed and injured in the attack.

Afghan security forces have struggled to fight the Taliban since the US and Nato formally ended their combat mission in 2014.