Published: Tue, July 02, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

16 killed, more than 100 wounded in Kabul auto bomb blast

16 killed, more than 100 wounded in Kabul auto bomb blast

Health Ministry spokesman Wahidullah Mayar told RFE/RL that one person died in the violence, while 93 injured people, including nine children, were taken to hospitals for treatment.

No group immediately claimed responsibility, and it was not immediately clear what the precise target was. Police and special Afghan security forces poured into the area and cordoned it off.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack which comes on the third day of talks between delegates of the group and US diplomats in Qatar and follows protracted air and ground offensives against the militants in various parts of the country in recent months.

Interior Ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said that a bomb-laden vehicle detonated in an eastern neighborhood in Kabul.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said via Twitter that the exlosion was followed by "multiple martyrdom seekers" who engaged in a firefight with Afghan forces. One unconfirmed report said several people were killed.

The blast sent a plume of black smoke over the city, with Reuters witnesses saying the sound shook their office building, as sporadic gunfire and the wail of ambulance sirens pierced the air.

According to AFP, the neighbourhood is home to some military and government buildings, as well as the Afghan Football Federation and the Afghan Cricket Board.

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The incident comes as Taliban-US peace talks have entered their third day in the Qatari capital of Doha.

Trump wants to pull all U.S. troops from Afghanistan, believing that the US's longest war - launched after the September 11, 2001 attacks - no longer makes military or financial sense.

Washington accelerated attempts to find a negotiated end to America's longest war with the appointment last September of Khalilzad, who was a special presidential representative to Afghanistan and later USA ambassador in Kabul in the years immediately following the 2001 US -led invasion that ousted the Taliban.

"We strongly condemn the Taliban's latest brutal attack against fellow Afghans", it tweeted.

The negotiations were expected to focus on working out a timeline for the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan and on a Taliban guarantee that militants will not plot attacks from Afghan soil.

Trump said he'd like to "get out" of Afghanistan but added that it is a country with "a lot of good hiding places" and needs to be watched.

On Monday, US President Donald Trump said in an interview that he wants to withdraw US forces from Afghanistan, but will leave a strong intelligence presence in the country to counter what he termed the "Harvard of terrorists".

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