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Asia

A Taliban suicide bomb in Kabul kills 14, wounds 145: Afghan officials

media Afghan police keep guard near the site of the explosion in Kabul, 7 August, 2019. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani

A Taliban car bomb rocked Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan on Tuesday, killing 14 people and wounding 145, primarily civilians, according to the Kabul police. This was one of the worst attacks in Kabul this year, as other parts of the country were hit by attacks.

The Taliban set off a car full of explosives at a security checkpoint outside of police headquarters in western Kabul, according to police spokesman Firdaus Faramarz.

The Taliban took responsibility for the attack, saying they that targeted a security forces recruitment centre, located near a military training school.

Deputy Interior Minister Khoshal Sadat said that 92 people of the wounded were civilians, while four police officers were killed.

The attack comes at a key time for both politicians and civilians, as many residents were preparing for Eid al-Adha, the Muslim holiday that begins on Sunday.

Afghanistan’s Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah condemned the attack, saying on Twitter that "the terrorists aim to disrupt the presidential election campaign."

The 28 September elections had previously been delayed due to security and poll preparation issues.

"The Taliban cannot pose any threat to our government, and the Afghan security forces are strong and can protect the Afghan population," presidential spokesman Sediq Seddiqi told reporters.

On Tuesday, the Taliban warned Afghanis that they must not vote and should avoid any campaign rallies or they “could become potential targets.”

Progress in peace talks

On the same day, US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and the Taliban said they had progressed in peace talks in ending the war in Afghanistan that has crippled the country for nearly 18 years.

Civilians worry that once the some 20,000 US and NATO troops return home, violence could escalate, as the number of people killed in the country is rising as they deal with near-daily attacks against Afghan forces.

The United Nations reported that the highest number of casualties in a single month since 2017, more than 1,500 people killed or wounded as attacks continue.

The Taliban now reportedly controls nearly half of Afghanistan.

Another attack, foiled plans

While the capital was reeling from the blast, another attack was carried out but others were foiled.

A sticky bomb wounded at least eight civilians, in Herat, in the western part of the country, according to Abdul Ahi Walizada, provincial police chief spokesman.

Overnight raids in three locations in eastern Kabul by security officials yielded bomb-making materials. Three security forces members and two Islamic State militants were killed.

Security forces stopped an insurgent attack in northern Baghlan province when a suicide bomber tried to attack an Aghan base but was killed, said Jawed Basharat, provincial police chief spokesman.

No security forces were killed, he added.

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