Afghan officials say a suicide car bombing Tuesday hit a security forces’ convoy in Kabul, killing at least 13 people and injuring nine others.
Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish confirmed the casualty count and told VOA that security personnel and civilians were both among the victims.
The convoy reportedly was transporting operatives of the National Directorate for Security (NDS), the main Afghan spy agency.
The Taliban quickly took responsibility, saying the suicide attack in a western district of the capital city was aimed at a joint convoy of American military trainers and their Afghan partners.
An insurgent spokesman claimed the powerful blast “killed and wounded 23 security personnel,” though Taliban officials often issue inflated claims for such attacks.
Afghan peace efforts
The deadly violence came on a day when the Afghan government announced the formation of a so-called High Consultative Board for Peace Process.
The panel comprises senior government officials and prominent politicians, including former president, Hamid Karzai, as well as jihadi leaders outside of the government.
An official announcement explained the panel’s meetings will be chaired by President Ashraf Ghani and its members will provide timely “constructive advice” on “critical issues to a 12-member government team of negotiators already set up for prospective peace talks with the Taliban.
The formation of the two bodies are part of President Ghani’s “roadmap” for promoting peace in Afghanistan, which he announced at the recent conference of international donors in Geneva.
The president explained the government plans to proceed with “a five-phase approach, commencing with an intra-Afghan dialogue, followed by discussions with Pakistan and the United States, followed by participation of regional actors, the Arab-Islamic world, and finally, NATO and non-NATO countries.”
The Taliban, for its part, has adamantly refused to engage with the Ghani government or in an intra-Afghan dialogue until the United States agrees on a date or timeframe for withdrawing all International forces from Afghanistan.
Washington has recently opened talks with representatives of the Taliban based in Qatar but little progress has been made in three publicly known meetings between the two sides since July.