Taliban kills and injures scores of civilians in another Kabul car bombing
KABUL -- The Taliban claimed another car bombing amid ongoing peace talks, the latest of which Thursday (September 5) killing and injuring scores of innocent civilians.
The car bombing shook Shash Darak, a heavily fortified area adjacent to the Green Zone and home to several important complexes including that of the National Directorate of Security (NDS).
Surveillance footage of the bombing, which occurred at about 10.10am, showed a grey minivan explode just after it had cut in front of a line of white SUVs waiting to make a right turn right onto a street.
A least 10 civilians were killed and 42 more wounded, according to Interior Ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi.
Two coalition troops were killed in the explosion.
Both civilians and security personnel were among the dead and wounded, Farid Ahmad Karimi, general manager at the Wazir Akbar Khan Hospital close to the bomb site, told AFP.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack on Twitter.
The past week of spiraling violence has exposed a clear tactic employed by Taliban leaders: use the group's continuing murder of Afghan civilians as a means to put pressure on the Afghan government and its international allies at the peace talks negotiating table.
'Littered with debris and bodies'
Massoud Zazai, who owns a photo studio across the street from the blast site, said he was in his shop when the explosion happened.
"I fell off my chair, and it got dark inside the shop because of smoke and dust," Zazai told AFP.
"I went out to the scene moments after the attack; the side of the road was littered with debris and bodies."
Through the smoke, Zazai said he could hear injured survivors crying and calling for their mothers and brothers.
"I saw at least five very badly injured; one was covered in blood and not moving. It was horrifying."
The bombing was also near where the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) killed nine journalists in a blast in April last year, including AFP Kabul's chief photographer, Shah Marai.
On Monday (September 2), a Taliban attack on a residential area in east Kabul killed at least 16 people and wounded 119 others.
President Ashraf Ghani condemned the bombing, which came as TOLOnews was broadcasting an interview with US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad.
Khalilzad discussed the details of the potential deal with the Taliban in a meeting with Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah in Kabul on Monday, according to the Afghan Presidential Palace.
"Yes, we have reached an agreement in principle," Khalilzad told TOLOnews just hours after he briefed Afghan leaders on the US-Taliban talks.
The United States will not support an "Islamic emirate", something the Taliban want to re-establish in the country, he said.
On Wednesday, the Afghan government expressed doubts about the prospective deal, saying officials need more information about the risks it poses.
"There is too much concern about it, and we are still not assured of what consequences this agreement could have for Afghanistan's future," presidential advisor Waheed Omar told journalists on Thursday.
"The people of Afghanistan have been bitten by the snake before and have been witness to the consequences of hasty deals," he said.