Taleban claims deadly car bomb attack in Kabul

A Taleban suicide attacker blew up a bomb-laden car in Kabul during rush hour yesterday, killing at least two civilians.
A Taleban suicide attacker blew up a bomb-laden car in Kabul during rush hour yesterday, killing at least two civilians.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

KABUL • A car bomb explosion claimed by the Taleban in Kabul yesterday killed at least two civilians, as the militants kept up pressure on the Afghan capital amid growing calls for peace talks.

Several others were wounded in the morning rush-hour suicide blast in an industrial area of the city that Afghanistan's Interior Ministry said had been intended to strike global security company G4S.

It was the fourth suicide attack in Kabul in three weeks and comes days after the top US general in the country said protecting the war-weary city was "our main effort".

It also comes as the Taleban faces growing pressure to take up Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's offer last month of peace talks to end the 16-year war.

"Around 9.10am this morning a suicide car bomb exploded in Police District Nine of Kabul," Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish told Agence France-Presse.

Two civilians were killed and three others were wounded in the attack, Mr Danish said.

Reuters, meanwhile, reported that at least three people were killed in the incident.

Witnesses said the true casualty toll was higher and that, like countless other attacks in Kabul, its main victims appeared to be ordinary people going about their daily lives.

The blast happened at a time when many people would have been driving to their offices on the first day of Afghanistan's working week.

Health Ministry spokesman Wahid Majrooh told AFP at least four people had been wounded in the explosion.

Deputy Interior Ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said the suicide bomber had been driving towards G4S but "detonated himself before reaching the target".

In a WhatsApp message sent to journalists, Taleban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the bomber had targeted a convoy of "foreign troops". "All occupiers were killed," he said.

Taleban and Islamic State in Iraq and Syria militants have been ramping up attacks in Kabul in recent months, increasing pressure on the Afghan government, which is frequently lambasted for its inability to protect civilians.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 18, 2018, with the headline 'Taleban claims deadly car bomb attack in Kabul'. Print Edition | Subscribe