Afghan suicide attack kills 7; hopes for peace talks fizzle


Associated Press

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A suicide blast rocked Afghanistan’s capital today during a gunbattle with security forces, officials said, killing at least seven people a day after hopes for all-encompassing peace talks collapsed. At least eight people were wounded.

Police chief Gen. Sayed Mohammad Roshandil said the bomber blew himself up outside the Telecommunications Ministry, clearing the way for four gunmen to enter the building and the heavily guarded government compound in central Kabul.

Nasart Rahimi, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said four civilians and three soldiers were killed during the attack. Eight civilians were wounded, he said.

Wahidullah Mayar, spokesman for the Public Health Ministry, said the wounded people were evacuated to hospitals, three of them women.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. Both Taliban insurgents and the Islamic State group are active in eastern Afghanistan and have previously claimed attacks in Kabul.

The Taliban denied involvement.

Rahimi said the security operation ended at the Ministry of Telecommunication “after all four attackers were shot and killed by Afghan security forces.”

The attack came a day after Afghan-to-Afghan peace talks in Qatar were cancelled. It would have marked the first time that Taliban and Kabul government officials sat together to negotiate an end to the war in Afghanistan and a withdrawal of U.S. troops.

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