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Afghanistan attack: Car-bomb blast in Kabul claimed by Taliban kills 14 and wounds 145

Explosion comes just one day after US envoy and Taliban report progress in peace talks

Conrad Duncan
Wednesday 07 August 2019 13:26 BST
Afghanistan attack: Car-bomb blast in Kabul claimed by Taliban kills 14 and wounds 145

The Taliban has claimed responsibility for a suicide car-bomb attack in the Afghan capital Kabul, which government officials say has killed 14 and left 145 people wounded.

A suicide bomber targeted a police station in the capital on Wednesday, killing mostly civilians, in what officials have said is one of the worst attacks in Kabul this year.

The blast came just one day after a US envoy and the Taliban reported progress in talks to negotiate an end to the nearly 18-year war in Afghanistan.

Police spokesperson Firdaus Faramarz said the bomber detonated a car packed with explosives at a security checkpoint outside the police headquarters in a minority Shiite neighbourhood in western Kabul.

Ninety-two civilians were wounded in the attack and four police officers were killed, deputy interior minister Khoshal Sadat told reporters.

The attack took place ahead of the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha, which begins on Sunday.

Despite ongoing peace talks between the US and the Taliban, a growing number of civilians have been killed in Afghanistan.

July saw the highest number of civilian casualties in a single month since 2017, with more than 1,500 killed or wounded as insurgent attacks spiked, the United Nations said earlier this month.

Abdullah Abdullah, Afghanistan's chief executive, condemned the attack on Wednesday by saying in a Twitter post that "the terrorists aim to disrupt the presidential election campaign."

He added: "We are committed to the democratic process and our resolve is unshakable. Instead of terrorist attacks, let us resolve our issues through negotiations."

Afghanistan's presidential election, which has been delayed due to security and organisational concerns, is set for 28 September this year.

On Tuesday, the Taliban warned Afghan citizens to boycott the polls and avoid campaign rallies which "could become potential targets."

The Taliban currently control roughly half of Afghanistan and have staged near-daily attacks against Afghan forces recently across the country, demanding the removal of US and Nato forces.

However, many Afghans worry what will happen once the estimated 20,000 US and Nato troops leave the country with the Taliban at their strongest since 2001, when the US-led invasion toppled their government.

Afghan president Ashraf Ghani's government claimed the attack on Wednesday was meant to strengthen the Taliban's position in negotiations with the US but said it would not succeed.

The Taliban has continued to sideline the Kabul government, claiming it is a US puppet and refusing to negotiate with it.

Nevertheless, Zalmay Khalilzad, the US envoy tasked with resolving the conflict, has reported "excellent progress" in the talks and said he is hoping for a final agreement by 1 September.

Agencies contributed to this report

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