KABUL -- The Taliban carried out a massive bombing in Kabul Wednesday (August 7) that killed at least 14 people and wounded 145 even as insurgents appear to be closing in on a peace deal.
A huge plume of black smoke was seen rising over western Kabul following a massive explosion at the entrance to a police compound around 9am.
The Interior Ministry attributed the explosion to a car bomb, but the Taliban, which claimed responsibility, said it was a much larger truck bomb.
Images on social media showed toppled blast walls surrounding several largely destroyed buildings in a compound.
At least 10 civilians and four police officers were killed, said Afghan authorities. Another 145 people, including 92 civilians, were wounded.
"As the air cleared, I saw several women crying, desperately looking for their husbands or children near the blast site," local journalist Zakeria Hasani, who lives near the police station, told AFP.
Shopkeeper Ahmad Saleh said his store windows had blown out, sending glass flying.
"My head is spinning, and still I don't know what has happened, but the windows of about 20 shops around 1km from the blast site are broken," he said.
Taliban flout peace talks
The violence comes as the Taliban talk peace and issue threats at the same time.
The United States and the Taliban met in Doha this week for an eighth round of talks aimed at striking a peace deal that would slash the American military presence in Afghanistan.
Both sides have cited "excellent progress".
The bombing came after the Taliban warned Afghans on Tuesday (August 6) to keep away from public gatherings ahead of the presidential election planned for September 28.
In response, security forces are "fully prepared" to protect Afghans against Taliban threats and will not allow anyone to disrupt polls, said the Afghan government.
More than 1,500 civilians were killed or wounded in the Afghan conflict in July, according to the United Nations, the highest monthly toll so far this year and the worst single month since May 2017.