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10 Killed in Explosion in Kabul's Diplomatic Enclave; Taliban Claims Responsibility

There has been no let-up in violence in Afghanistan even though Taliban and US officials have been making progress in negotiations aimed at securing a deal on a US troop withdrawal in exchange for Taliban security guarantees.

Reuters

Updated:September 5, 2019, 2:57 PM IST
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10 Killed in Explosion in Kabul's Diplomatic Enclave; Taliban Claims Responsibility
Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack.
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Kabul: A Taliban suicide blast in the centre of Kabul killed at least 10 people and wounded more than 40 on Thursday, destroying cars and shops in an area near the headquarters of Afghanistan's NATO force and the US embassy, officials said.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack even as the insurgents and US officials have been negotiating a deal on a US troop withdrawal in exchange for Taliban security guarantees.

"At least 10 civilians have been killed and 42 injured were taken to hospitals," said Nasrat Rahimi, a spokesman for the interior ministry in Kabul.

Video footage and photographs posted on social media showed several cars and small shops torn apart by the blast at a checkpoint on a road near the NATO office and U.S. embassy. Police cordoned off the area.

Witnesses said the suicide bomber blew himself up as hundreds of people were standing or crossing the road.

Besmellah Ahmadi said he suffered minor wounds in the blast and sought shelter in a shop.

"My car windows were shattered. People rushed to get me out of the car," he told Reuters.

On Monday, a Taliban suicide truck bomber attacked a compound used by international organisations in Kabul, killing at least 16 people and wounding more than 100.

The U.S. top negotiator for peace in Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad said this week the two sides had drawn up a draft framework agreement under which U.S. troops would leave five military bases in Afghanistan within 135 days of the signing of the pact.

There are some 14,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, deployed at various bases across the country.

Khalilzad is expected to meet Afghan and NATO officials to explain the draft agreement, which must still be approved by US President Donald Trump before it can be signed.

Khalilzad, a veteran Afghan-American diplomat, has shared details of the draft with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, and sought his opinion before firming up an agreement that could bring an end to America's longest military intervention overseas.

But Ghani's government is seeking clarification from the United States on the draft agreement.

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