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Suicide bombing kills 10 near U.S. Embassy in Kabul

The Associated Press

Resolute Support forces remove a damaged vehicle after a car bomb explosion in Kabul on Thursday.

The Associated Press KABUL (AP) — A Taliban suicide car bomb rocked Kabul on Thursday, killing at least 10 civilians in a diplomatic area that also includes the U.S. Embassy — the second such attack this week that underscored Afghan government warnings that a preliminary U.S.-Taliban deal on ending America’s longest war was moving dangerously quickly.

Interior Ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said another 42 people were wounded and 12 vehicles destroyed.

The Taliban said they targeted vehicles of “foreigners” as they tried to enter the heavily guarded Shashdarak area where Afghan national security authorities have offices. The NATO Resolute Support mission is nearby, and British soldiers were at the scene retrieving what appeared to be the remains of a NATO vehicle.

Neither the NATO mission nor the British high commission immediately commented on the bombing.

Footage widely shared on social media showed the suicide bomber’s vehicle turning into the checkpoint and exploding — and a passer-by trying to sprint away just seconds before.

Once again, stunned civilians were the victims.

“I don’t know who brought us to the hospital and how,” said one of the wounded, Nezamuddin Khan, who was knocked unconscious and woke up in a local hospital.

The explosion follows a Taliban attack targeting a foreign compound late Monday that killed at least 16 people and wounded more than 100, almost all of them local civilians. An Associated Press reporter on the phone with the U.S. Embassy when Thursday’s blast occurred heard sirens begin blaring there.

U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has been in Kabul this week briefing the Afghan president and others on the U.S.-Taliban deal to end nearly 18 years of fighting that he says only needs U.S. President Donald Trump’s approval to become a reality.

But the Afghan government has raised serious concerns, including in new comments delivered Thursday as the latest attack occurred. The agreement was moving with “excessive speed,” presidential adviser Waheed Omer told reporters, warning that difficult days were ahead.

“Afghans have been bitten by this snake before,” Omer said, recalling past deals from which, like now, the Afghan government has been sidelined. “Where there is no feeling of ownership there is no safety,” he said, though he emphasized that the government still sees the peace process as an opportunity.

The Taliban, at their strongest since their 2001 defeat by a U.S.-led invasion, have refused to negotiate with the government, calling it a U.S. puppet.

The Afghan government on Wednesday said it shares the concerns raised by several former U.S. ambassadors to Afghanistan, who warned that a full U.S. troop withdrawal that moves too quickly and without requiring the Taliban to meet certain conditions, such as reducing violence, could lead to “total civil war.”

Khalilzad has said 5,000 U.S. troops would withdraw from five bases in Afghanistan within 135 days of a final deal. Between 14,000 and 13,000 troops are currently in the country.Speech

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