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Taliban blast kills 12 people in central Afghanistan amid 'productive' peace talks Open in fullscreen

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Taliban blast kills 12 people in central Afghanistan amid 'productive' peace talks

An injured man is transported to hospital following the Taliban bombing [Getty]

Date of publication: 7 July, 2019

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The Taliban have claimed responsibility for a deadly suicide car bomb attack in central Afghanistan, which they said was aimed at an intelligence facility amid ongoing peace talks in Doha.

The Taliban carried out a devastating suicide car bombing in central Afghanistan on Sunday that killed 12 people and wounded over 150 others, Afghan officials said.

The attack came as an all-Afghan peace conference, which includes the Taliban, were underway in the Qatari capital on Sunday in an effort to end to the country's relentless wars.

A provincial council member, Hasan Raza Yousafi, said the car bomb ripped through central Ghazni, the capital of the province of the same name. The dead included eight security personnel, he said.

Many of the wounded were students of a nearby high school, said the provincial health department chief, Zahir Shah Nekmal. He said most of the injured suffered cuts and abrasions from broken glass.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed claimed responsibility for the suicide attack saying the target was the intelligence service's compound in Ghazni. He said the bombing killed dozens of intelligence employees. The Taliban often exaggerate such claims.

The bombing came hours after Taliban rockets hit a market in northern Afghanistan killing at least 14 people.

Meanwhile, US Peace Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad hailed the intra-Afghan talks underway in Doha as a good first step toward substantive negotiations between Afghans on a framework for the country's future.

He said Washington's "aspiration" is to have that framework in place by September 1 and ahead of the Afghan presidential election.

Khalilzad, who has been holding direct talks with the Taliban for the past six days also in Doha, told a press briefing that included The Associated Press that the discussions were the most productive ever.

He will resume talks with the Taliban on Tuesday, he said.

Talks have covered a timeframe for the withdrawal of US and NATO troops from Afghanistan, verifiable counter-terrorism guarantees from the Taliban, intra-Afghan negotiations and an eventual ceasefire. 

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