At the very least 10 folks have been killed in a roadside bomb assault within the Afghan capital Kabul that focused First Vice-President Amrullah Saleh.
Mr Saleh, a former head of the Afghan intelligence companies, escaped with slight burns on his face and hand.
The bombing got here as Afghan officers and the Taliban ready to start their first formal talks.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid mentioned in a tweet that the militant group was not accountable for the blast.
Footage filmed shortly after the explosion confirmed a big plume of black smoke rising from the scene.
Tareq Arain, a spokesman for Afghanistan’s inside ministry, mentioned the roadside bomb focused Mr Saleh’s convoy because the official travelled to work. Mr Arain mentioned 10 civilians who labored within the space had been killed and 15 folks, together with one among Mr Saleh’s bodyguards, had been wounded.
A witness to the explosion mentioned he was driving previous the situation on the best way to a clinic when the bomb detonated.
“I misplaced one among my brothers, and the opposite one is damage,” the person informed the Reuters information company quickly after the blast. “What sort of authorities is that this? There isn’t any ambulance, and even the police have not arrived but.”
Mr Saleh is called a vocal opponent of the Taliban, and the previous intelligence chief has survived a number of earlier assassination makes an attempt, together with one final 12 months that killed 20 folks at his workplace. Talking after the blast on Wednesday, he vowed to proceed his political work.
“I’m wonderful however a few of my guards have been wounded. My son, who was within the automobile with me, and I are each wonderful,” Mr Saleh mentioned in a video message, with bandages seen on his left hand. “I’ve some burns on my face and hand. The blast was sturdy.”
The inside ministry mentioned the bomb was positioned on a hand cart on the facet of the street and detonated remotely when the vice-president’s convoy handed by.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who met Mr Saleh on Wednesday morning, after the assault, mentioned the “terrorists and their international backers can not undermine the folks’s sturdy religion in peace, democracy and the brilliant way forward for our nation”.
A European Union delegation in Afghanistan condemned the assault, calling it a “determined act by spoilers of peace efforts, who have to be collectively confronted”.
Afghan officers are anticipated to start lengthy delayed talks with the Taliban within the coming days in Doha, Qatar, in an try to succeed in a political reconciliation after years of bloodshed.
The Taliban signed a deal in February with the US to convey an finish to 19 years of battle between the 2. The peace settlement put a cease to Taliban assaults on US forces however the militant group continued concentrating on the Afghan army and authorities.
However the Taliban did pledge in February to not launch assaults in city areas, just like the one in Kabul on Wednesday.
The so-called Islamic State group has additionally launched quite a few high-profile assaults in Afghanistan lately. In August the group claimed accountability for an operation against a prison within the jap metropolis of Jalalabad which left 29 folks useless and allowed tons of of inmates to flee.
Responding to Wednesday’s assault, the top of the Afghan authorities’s negotiating staff, Mohammad Masoom Stanekzai, known as for violence to cease if the peace course of was to succeed.
“The time for making excuses has handed. The killing of the folks should finish,” he mentioned.