A car bomb had killed at least eight people and injured more than 15 others in Kabul on Sunday, officials said, the latest attack to rock the Afghan capital.
Kabul has been hit by a wave of deadly violence in recent months, despite the Taliban and the government opening peace talks to end the country’s long-running conflict.
Interior Ministry spokesman Tariq Arian blamed “terrorists” for the attack, saying the deaths included women and children.
The attack was aimed at Afghan lawmaker Khan Mohammad Wardak, Interior Minister Massoud Andarabi said. Wardak survived the explosion but is among the injured.
It is unclear whether the explosive was planted in a car that stood in the way of the legislator or whether a vehicle with the bomb was driven by a bomber, Andarabi says.
A security source said the car bomb had exploded in the western part of the capital, and an official from the Ministry of Health also confirmed the explosion.
“It was a powerful explosion that caused a lot of damage to nearby houses,” the source said.
TV pictures showed that at least two cars were on fire, with plumes of thick black smoke billowing up into the sky.
No claim for liability
No group has so far taken responsibility. The Islamic State jihadist group has claimed responsibility for some of the latest attacks in the capital.
Dozens of people, mostly students, were killed when IS group jihadists attacked two training centers, including one at Kabul University, which saw gunmen open fire on classrooms.
The group has also claimed a series of recent rocket attacks.
On Saturday, five rockets were fired at Bagram Airfield, a large US air base north of Kabul, but there were no casualties. The attack was also claimed by the IS group.
Sunday’s car bomb comes just two days after 15 children were killed and many more injured when a motorcycle loaded with explosives exploded near a religious gathering in a remote part of Ghazni, officials said, blaming the Taliban.
The children had gathered to recite Quranic verses, a regular activity on the Islamic holy day on Friday.
The Taliban denied involvement and said the blast occurred when an “unexploded nozzle” exploded near the children.
Stage of violence 2020
Violence has increased in several provinces in Afghanistan this year.
Between January and September, more than 2,100 civilians were killed and more than 3,800 wounded, according to the UN mission in Afghanistan.
The Afghan Interior Ministry said in a statement that the Taliban had killed 487 civilians and injured 1,049 others by carrying out 35 suicide bombings and 507 explosions across the country in the past three months.
Peace talks – which began in September in the Qatari capital Doha – are currently on hiatus until early January.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has requested that the next round of negotiations be held at home.
The outgoing US President Donald Trump has been pushing to end the United States’ longest-running war, with Washington signing an agreement with the Taliban earlier this year committing to withdraw all its troops by May 2021.
( Jowharwith AFP and REUTERS)