Large car bomb hits Afghan capital near area with embassies

Security personnel arrive at the site of car bomb explosion in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Sept 5, 2019.
Security personnel arrive at the site of car bomb explosion in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Sept 5, 2019.PHOTO: AP

KABUL (AP) - A large car bomb rocked the Afghan capital on Thursday (Sept 5) and smoke rose from a part of eastern Kabul near a neighbourhood housing the United States Embassy, the Nato Resolute Support mission and other diplomatic missions.

At least 10 civilians were killed and another 42 wounded, a hospital director said.

It was the second major blast in the Afghan capital this week while a US envoy has been in town briefing officials on a US-Taleban deal "in principle" to end America's longest war.

Firdaus Faramarz, a spokesman for Kabul's police chief, told The Associated Press that the explosion took place in the city's Ninth Police District.

It appeared to target a checkpoint in the heavily guarded Shashdarak area where the Afghan national security authorities have offices.

Interior Ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said a car bomb had exploded on a main road and police were sealing off the area.

The Taleban said they targeted vehicles of “foreigners” as they tried to enter the heavily guarded Shashdarak area where Afghan national security authorities have offices. The Nato Resolute Support mission is nearby, and British soldiers were at the scene retrieving what appeared to be the remains of a Nato vehicle.

Neither the Nato mission nor the British high commission immediately commented on the bombing.

Footage widely shared on social media showed the suicide bomber’s vehicle turning into the checkpoint and exploding – and a passer-by trying to sprint away just seconds before.

Once again, stunned civilians were the victims.

“I don’t know who brought us to the hospital and how,” said one of the wounded, Nezamuddin Khan, who was knocked unconscious and woke up in a local hospital.

 
 

An Associated Press reporter on the phone with the US Embassy when the blast occurred heard sirens begin there.

A Taleban suicide bombing in eastern Kabul on Monday night - which the insurgents said targeted a foreign compound - killed at least 16 people and wounded more than 100, almost all of them local civilians.

The Afghan government has expressed serious concerns about the US-Taleban deal, which US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has said only needs the approval of US President Donald Trump to become final.

Thursday's blast occurred as Afghan presidential adviser Waheed Omer was speaking to reporters.

He warned that difficult days were ahead and he described the deal as moving with "excessive speed".

“Afghans have been bitten by this snake before”, Mr Omer said, recalling past deals from which, like now, the Afghan government has been sidelined. “Where there is no feeling of ownership there is no safety,” he said, though he emphasized that the government still sees the peace process as an opportunity.

The Taleban, at their strongest since their 2001 defeat by a US-led invasion, have refused to negotiate with the government, calling it a US puppet.