Car Bombed in Kabul Diplomatic Area Two Days After Suicide Blast

In midst of US and Taliban peace deal negotiations, two attacks in the same week in Kabul have been claimed by the Taliban.

Afghanistan: A car bomb rocked central Kabul, on Thursday, near an area housing the US Embassy and other diplomatic missions. Caused by an explosive-laden bus, the blast targeted a security checkpoint near NATO’s Resolute Support Mission headquarters.

Nasrat Rahimi, interior ministry spokesman confirmed the explosion in the Shashdarak area at about 10:10 am. At least 10 civilians were reported killed, according to the spokesman. The Taliban have claimed responsibility for the attack.

The blast comes after a Taliban suicide bombing in eastern Kabul on Monday night, which killed at least 16 people and wounded more than 100, almost all of them local civilians.

The attacks are taking place even as Zalmay Khalilzad, the US special envoy for Afghanistan, is visiting Kabul to brief the Afghan government about the status of his talks with the Taliban.

Security forces are seen near the site where suicide bomber blew himself up in the centre of Kabul, Afghanistan, September 5, 2019. Photo: Reuters/Omar Sobhani

The US and the Taliban have so far held nine rounds of negotiations to put an end to the 18-year-long conflict. Khalilzad presented the draft agreement reached between the US and the Taliban to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

Withdrawing troops?

The deal would see the US withdraw some 5,000 troops stationed at five bases across Afghanistan. Khalilzad said the troop reduction would occur within around four months of a final deal being approved — if the Taliban stick to their commitments, including reducing violence.

Also read: Taliban Attack in Kabul Kills 16, Shadow Looms Over Peace Deal

US President Donald Trump would still need to approve the deal, which was hammered out during the latest round of talks with the Taliban in Doha, Qatar. Despite ending their combat role in 2014, an estimated 20,000 US and NATO personnel remain in the war-ravaged country to train and support Afghan forces.

The Taliban have long demanded all foreign troops to leave the country. They now control or hold sway over roughly half of Afghanistan and is at its strongest since its 2001 defeat by a US-led invasion in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

The militants have continued their bloody assaults even as their leaders meet US peace envoys in Doha.

This article was published in DW. Read the original here