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Nine Killed in Kabul Car Bomb Targeting Afghan MP

Sunday's bombing targeted parliamentarian Khan Mohammad Wardak who was injured in the attack.

A car bomb targeting an Afghan lawmaker killed nine people and wounded more than a dozen in Kabul on Sunday, officials said, the latest attack to rock the capital.

Kabul has been hit by a wave of deadly violence in recent months despite the Taliban and government engaging in peace talks to end the country’s long conflict.

Sunday’s bombing targeted parliamentarian Khan Mohammad Wardak who was injured in the attack, officials said.

“Nine people were killed and 20 others were wounded in the car bomb,” Interior Minister Masoud Andrabi told reporters, adding that all the casualties were civilians.

The ministry said in a separate statement that women and children were among those wounded by the “terrorist attack.”

A security source said the car bomb detonated in the west of the capital. “It was a powerful explosion that has caused a lot of damage to houses in the vicinity,” the source said.

Television footage showed at least two cars on fire, with plumes of thick black smoke billowing into the sky.

An aide to lawmaker Wardak said the attack occurred when he was traveling in his convoy, and five of his bodyguards were among the wounded.

“The enemies of Afghanistan carried out a terrorist attack on Khan Mohammad Wardak,” President Ashraf Ghani said in a statement condemning the bombing. “Terrorist attacks on civilian targets and facilities will endanger the opportunity for peace,” he added.

No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack, and the Taliban denied their involvement.

The jihadist Islamic State has claimed responsibility for some of the recent attacks in Kabul.

Dozens of people, mostly students, were killed when IS jihadists attacked two education centers, including one at Kabul University that saw gunmen open fire on classrooms.

The group has also claimed a series of recent rocket attacks in and around Kabul.

‘Pressure Tactic’

Later on Sunday, a roadside bomb blast in west Kabul killed one civilian, police said, adding two other bombs were dismantled in the area.

Kabul has seen a spate of targeted assassinations of prominent figures in recent months, including top officials, journalists, clerics, politicians, and rights activists.

Last week a deputy governor of Kabul province was killed when a bomb attached to his vehicle detonated while he was on his way to work.

Vice President Amrullah Saleh, a strong opponent of the Taliban, was appointed in October to lead a task force to curb the violence in Kabul.

Saleh’s program was popular with people in the capital, which prompted the Taliban to launch new attacks in an attempt to discredit him, said Sayed Nasir Musawi, an independent Kabul-based political analyst.

Afghanistan's vice president Amrullah Saleh
Afghanistan’s vice president Amrullah Saleh is an outspoken Taliban critic. Photo: AFP

Sunday’s car bomb comes just two days after 15 children were killed and many more wounded when a motorbike laden with explosives blew up near a religious gathering in a remote part of the eastern province of Ghazni, officials said, blaming the Taliban.

The Taliban denied involvement and said the blast occurred when “unexploded ordnance” detonated near the children.

Violence has surged across several provinces in Afghanistan this year.

Attacks by the Taliban have killed nearly 500 civilians and wounded more than 1,000 others over just the past three months, the interior ministry said on Saturday.

US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad who negotiated a landmark deal for Washington with the Taliban earlier this year condemned the “high level of violence” in a series of tweets after the Ghazni blast.

“We condemn all those who authorize and carry out such attacks across Afghanistan, creating terror and bloodshed,” he said. “We call for all sides to reduce violence and move quickly to a ceasefire.”

Peace talks — which opened in September in the Qatari capital of Doha — are currently on a break until early January.

Outgoing US President Donald Trump has pushed to end America’s longest war, with the Taliban-Washington deal committing the US to pull all of its troops from the country by May 2021.

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