At least 10 people have been killed and more than 40 others wounded in a Taliban-claimed bomb explosion that rocked downtown Kabul, as representatives from the United States and the militant group negotiate a “peace” deal in the war-ravaged country.
The blast occurred after an assailant detonated his explosive vest in Shash Darak, a heavily-fortified area close to the Green Zone in the Afghan capital and home to a number of important complexes, including the National Directorate of Security (NDS), the Afghan intelligence service.
“At least 10 civilians have been killed and 42 injured were taken to hospitals” said Nasrat Rahimi, a spokesman of the Interior Ministry, adding that the blast occurred at about 10:10 a.m. (0540 GMT) on Thursday.
The victims included a Romanian and a US member of foreign forces in Afghanistan, the NATO-led Resolute Support mission said in a statement.
Other reports said that the bomb attack targeted a security checkpoint near NATO’s Resolute Support Mission headquarters. Taliban, however, said that they had targeted a foreign forces convoy which was entering an NDS facility in the area.
Video footage and photographs posted on social media showed a number of vehicles and small shops destroyed and police cordoning off the road.
According to eyewitnesses, the terrorist blew up his explosives as hundreds of people were standing or crossing the road.
The Thursday blast occurred three days after another Taliban-claimed explosion killed at least 16 people and wounded more than 100 others.
The latest offensive also came as American and Taliban negotiators have reportedly finalized a deal in the Qatari capital, Doha.
Nearly 20,000 foreign troops, most of them Americans, are currently deployed in Afghanistan as part of a mission to purportedly train, assist, and advise Afghan security forces.
Despite the talks, deadly skirmishes between the Taliban and Afghan forces as well as attacks on populated areas of the country continue.
The talks come almost 18 years after the US and its allies invaded Afghanistan to overthrow a Taliban regime.