Blast in Kabul kills at least 16

Source:AFP Published: 2019/9/3 20:28:40

119 wounded by parked tractor packed with explosives

A massive blast in a residential area of Kabul killed at least 16 people, officials said Tuesday, following yet another Taliban attack that came as the insurgents and Washington try to finalize a withdrawal deal.

US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad was in the Afghan capital to discuss the proposed deal - which would see the US withdraw troops in return for Taliban security guarantees - when the Monday bombing happened.

Footage on local television stations showed a massive crater near crumbled blast walls and twisted metal where buildings once stood.

Interior ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said the blast was caused by a tractor packed with explosives that had been parked alongside a wall by Green Village, a large compound that houses aid agencies and international organizations.

In addition to the 16 killed, 119 were wounded in the attack, Rahimi said, noting a search-and-rescue operation had lasted through the night.

The bombing was the third major Taliban attack in as many days - and the violence is likely to continue, Taliban expert Rahimullah Yusufzai said.

The insurgents are convinced it was their military strength which has forced Washington to open talks with them on a withdrawal, he said.

"This is the weapon in their hands and they will keep on using it until they gain their objectives," he told AFP.

Residents in the area around Green Village were furious that their neighborhood, which has been targeted before, had been hit once again and blamed the assault on the nearby international presence.

Locals set tires on fire, sending plumes of thick, acrid smoke into the morning sky, and closed off a main road next to the scene of the attack. The sound of gunfire could be heard on a live TV broadcast Monday morning.

"We want these foreigners to move out of our neighborhood," resident Abdul Jamil told AFP.

"This is not the first time we suffer because of them... We don't want them here anymore."

In January, a powerful truck bomb detonated near Green Village, killing at least four people and wounding more than 100 others.

Green Village is separate from the nearby Green Zone, a walled-off and heavily fortified part of Kabul that is home to several embassies including the US and British missions.

The Taliban claimed Monday's attack, which was condemned by President Ashraf Ghani and came as Afghanistan's main TV station, Tolo News, was broadcasting an interview with Khalilzad.

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