Kabul: At least 10 civilians were killed and dozens wounded after a Taliban suicide bomber driving an explosives-laden car blew himself up near a heavily-guarded government office complex in the centre of the Afghan capital on Thursday, officials said.
The bombing took place in a high-security zone that houses several government offices, including the headquarters of Afghanistan’s primary intelligence agency – the National Directorate of Security.
Interior Ministry spokesperson Nasrat Rahimi said the blast that took place at 10.10 a.m. in Shashdarak area of Kabul killed 10 civilians and injured 42 others. Some 12 private vehicles were also destroyed in the powerful explosion, according to Efe news.
An official at the Public Health Ministry said that five bodies were brought to hospitals. “The (figures) may change as the evacuation still continues,” said the official, requesting anonymity.
The Taliban insurgent group claimed the Kabul attack, saying the suicide bombing targeted a convoy of “foreign invaders” going to the NDS office.
Its spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid tweeted that three Land Cruisers were “completely damaged” in the attack that killed “12 foreign invaders and eight NDS soldiers”.
The explosion comes as the US and the Taliban are believed to have finalized in principle an agreement for peace in Afghanistan after a year of negotiations to end the 18-year old war.
Kabul Police spokesperson Firdaws Faramarz said that the attack “caused casualties to civilians and damaged several cars on the road”. But he didn’t give specific figures.
The attack follows Monday’s Taliban suicide bombing when a tractor laden with explosives was detonated near a heavily-guarded residential complex in the Afghan capital that mostly houses foreigners. At least 21 people were killed and nearly 119 were injured.
The Taliban called the area a “nest of foreign invaders”.
That attack took place hours after US special envoy for peace in Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad shared with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani a draft accord with the Taliban after several months of peace talks in Qatar.