KABUL: Twenty-five people were killed in two attacks in Afghanistan Saturday, including one in the capital, with the blasts putting attempts by Kabul to persuade the Taliban to join peace talks set for next month in jeopardy.
The Taliban later claimed responsibility for the attack near the Defence Ministry in the centre of Kabul. “Twelve people, including two Afghan soldiers were killed and eight others injured,” a ministry statement said, while a previous toll given by Kabul police chief Abdul Rahman Rahimi stated nine were dead and 13 wounded.
The bomber was on foot, ministry spokesperson Dawlat Waziri added, and detonated the charge as offices closed for the day.
Analysts have previously observed the Taliban stepping up attacks in the heart of the capital to gain leverage ahead of attempted peace negotiations with the Western-backed government in Kabul, against whom they have been fighting a bloody insurgency for more than 14 years.
Earlier on Saturday a suicide bomber on a motorbike struck at a market in Asadabad, the capital of restive Kunar province, killing 13 people and wounding at least 39. -Agencies