The Taliban carried out a suicide attack in Kabul's city center on Thursday, killing at least ten people and wounding more than 40 others, officials in Afghanistan said after the blast.
US to Withdraw 5,000 Troops From Afghanistan, Close Bases: Peace Deal
According to the Afghan officials, the Taliban suicide attack targeted an area near the headquarters of NATO and the U.S. embassy in Kabul.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack even as the insurgents and U.S. officials have been negotiating a deal on a U.S. 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.
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 many people were standing nearby or crossing the road.
Besmellah Ahmadi said he suffered minor wounds and sought shelter in a shop.
“My car windows were shattered. People rushed to get me out,” he told Reuters.
There has been no let-up in violence in Afghanistan even though both the Taliban and U.S. officials have reported progress in negotiations aimed at securing a deal on ending their war.
On Monday, a Taliban suicide truck bomber attacked a compound used by international organizations 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. Despite ending their combat role in 2014, an estimated 20,000 US and NATO security forces remain in the war-ravaged country to train, advice and assist Afghan forces.
Khalilzad is expected to meet Afghan and NATO officials to explain the draft agreement, which must still be approved by U.S. President Donald Trump before it can be signed.