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 - 2:42 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. At least three people were killed and another 30 wounded, a hospital director said.

It was the second major blast in the Afghan capital this week while a U.S. envoy has been in town briefing officials on a U.S.-Taliban 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. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

Three bodies and 30 wounded people were brought to the nearby Wazir Mohammad Akbar Khan hospital, said its director, Gul Ahmad Ayubi.

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

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.

The Afghan government has expressed serious concerns about the U.S.-Taliban deal, which U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has said only needs the approval of 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."

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