Car Bomb Kills 9 in Afghan Capital

Officials in Afghanistan say a car bomb went off in Kabul on Sunday, killing at least nine people and injuring 20 others.A member of the national parliament, Khan Mohammad Wardak, was apparently the target of the bombing in the Afghan capital, but he survived the attack.Interior Minister Massoud Andarabi told reporters after visiting the scene that an investigation is underway to determine the motives and whether it was the work of a suicide bomber.Neither the Taliban insurgency nor another other armed group claimed responsibility for the deadly bombing.Andarabi, however, pointed the finger at the Taliban, saying, “we know who the enemy is, and we know their plans.”Wardak, a prominent Kabul businessman, is the second lawmaker to have been attacked in a week.On Dec. 13, a bomb attached to a vehicle carrying lawmaker Tofeq Wahdat killed his driver and a security guard. Wahdat survived the attempt that also wounded his brother. No one took credit for that incident.A string of targeted attacks, largely unclaimed, in the Afghan capital has killed at least a dozen prominent individuals, including senior government officials, during the past week.Afghanistan has experienced a spike in violence even as the Taliban and Kabul representatives hold peace talks brokered by the United States.Continued clashes between Afghan security forces and Taliban insurgents across the country have killed scores of combatants on both sides as well as civilians.The so-called intra-Afghan negotiations are aimed at hammering out a power-sharing deal that would end the country’s long conflict, but the process has made little progress since it was launched in September.The rival negotiating teams have taken a break from Dec. 14 to Jan. 5 for internal deliberations. The dialogue is the outcome of a landmark accord the U.S. sealed with the Taliban in February to close the 19-year Afghan war.On Saturday, U.S. special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad condemned in a series of tweets the “ongoing high level of violence” in the country.“We call for all sides to reduce violence and move quickly to a ceasefire,” said Khalilzad, who negotiated and signed the February deal with the Taliban. “The Islamic Republic [of Afghanistan] and the Taliban must respect the demands of their people and reach a political agreement as soon as possible. The United States stands with the people of Afghanistan,” the envoy stressed.The U.S.-Taliban agreement requires all American and coalition forces to leave the country by May. In return, the insurgents have promised to cut ties with terrorist groups, including al-Qaida, and prevent Afghan soil for being used for international terrorism.The Taliban has also pledged to seek an end to four decades of hostilities through current peace talks with the Afghan government.


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