UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — A Taliban suicide bombing in the center of the Afghan capital killed at least 10 people and wounded more than 40 on Thursday, destroying cars and shops in an area close to NATO headquarters and the US embassy, officials said.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack even as the group negotiated with US officials to strike a deal on withdrawing US troops in return for security guarantees.
“At least 10 civilians were killed, 42 wounded and taken to hospitals,” Interior Ministry spokesman Nusrat Rahimi said.
A NATO-led mission said in a statement that Romania and an American member were killed during a clash in Kabul, but gave no details.
A senior Interior Ministry official said the two were killed in a suicide bomb attack and that their vehicle was the main target of the attack.
Video footage and photos on social media showed several vehicles and small shops destroyed at a checkpoint on a road near the NATO office and the US embassy. Police cordoned off the area.
Witnesses said the bomber blew himself up as many people stood or crossed the road.
Bismillah Ahmadi said he suffered minor injuries and took shelter in a shop.
“The glass of my car is shattered,” he told Reuters. People rushed to get me out.”
On Monday, a suicide truck bomber attacked a compound used by international organizations in Kabul, killing at least 16 people and wounding more than 100.
Zalmay Khalilzad, the top US negotiator to the Afghan peace talks, said this week that the two sides had set a tentative framework for an agreement under which US forces would withdraw from five military bases in Afghanistan within 135 days of signing.
There are about 14,000 US troops in Afghanistan at various bases across the country. Although their combat missions ended in 2014, there are still about 20,000 US and NATO security forces in the country to train and assist Afghan forces.
Khalilzad is expected to meet Afghan and NATO officials to explain the draft agreement, which first needs approval from US President Donald Trump before it is signed.
– Nonsensical attacks –
Khalilzad, a veteran Afghan-American diplomat, briefed Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on the details of the draft and asked for his opinion before approving the final version of the deal, which could end the longest US foreign intervention.
But Ghani’s government wants clarification from the United States on the draft deal.
“The world must break its silence,” Gandhi’s friend Siddiqui wrote on Twitter, referring to what some in Afghanistan regard as a recent reluctance by the United States to criticize the Taliban for fear of stalled talks.
US Ambassador to Afghanistan John Bass condemned the attack.
“The time for these senseless attacks is over,” he wrote on Twitter. He did not mention the Taliban.
In a separate incident, Taliban fighters said they detonated a car near a security meeting in the eastern province of Logar. Government officials said four civilians were killed.
The National Security Directorate, the country’s main security body, said its forces killed four men in the eastern city of Jalalabad on the grounds of links to the Islamic State.
National security forces killed four brothers on Wednesday night, provincial officials and residents said.
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