FILE - In this Feb. 8, 2019 file photo, Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad smiles at the U.S. Institute of Peace, in Washington. Khalilzad and the Taliban have resumed negotiations on ending America’s longest war. A Taliban member said Khalilzad also had a one-on-one meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019, with the Taliban’s lead negotiator, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, in Qatar, where the insurgent group has a political office. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

Large car bomb hits Afghan capital near area with embassies

September 05, 2019 - 2:24 am

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A large car bomb rocked the Afghan capital on Thursday and smoke rose from a part of eastern Kabul near a neighborhood housing the U.S. Embassy, the NATO Resolute Support mission and other diplomatic missions.

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.

There was no immediate word on casualties. An Associated Press reporter on the phone with the U.S. Embassy when the blast occurred heard sirens begin there.

Interior Ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said a car bomb had exploded on a main road and police were sealing off the area. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

The blast occurred as U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has been in Kabul this week, briefing the Afghan government and others on a deal he says has been reached "in principle" with the Taliban on ending America's longest war.

A Taliban 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.

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