Top Pakistan Security Official to Visit Afghanistan for Crucial Talks

Top Pakistan Security Official to Visit Afghanistan for Crucial Talks

Nasir Janjua to leave for Afghanistan today

Witnesses said the true casualty toll was higher and that, like countless other attacks in Kabul, its main victims appeared to ordinary people going about their daily lives.

"Around 9:10am this morning a suicide vehicle bomb exploded in Police District Nine of Kabul", interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish told AFP, adding the target of the attack was not clear.

Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahed, claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on February 28 unveiled a plan to open peace talks with the Taliban, including eventually recognising them as a political party, days after the militants called for direct negotiations with the US.

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Two civilians were killed and three others were wounded in the attack, Danish said.

"All occupiers were killed", Mujahid said.

The attack comes weeks before the start of the spring fighting season which is expected to be more intense this year as militants respond to intensifying United States and Afghan air strikes and ground offensives.

The Taliban, however, invited U.S. officials to its political office in Qatar to discuss a "peaceful solution" to end the bloodshed in Afghanistan.

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In December, General John W Nicholson Jr of the US Army said his country would deploy more troops in an advisory role to Afghan forces in 2018, on top of the 14,000 American soldiers already stationed in the country. To harden Kabul, to protect the people of Kabul and the worldwide community that are here ... the Taliban are in the city.

Early this year, the Afghan government published what it described as "undeniable" proof that neighboring Pakistan continues to facilitate attacks by the Taliban and the Haqqani Network in Afghanistan, including in Kabul.

Western diplomats and officials in Kabul say contacts involving intermediaries have been underway with the aim of agreeing on ground rules and potential areas of discussion for possible talks with at least some elements in the Taliban.

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