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Suicide Bomb Blast Hits Afghan Security Convoy In Kabul

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Afghan National Army soldiers stand guard at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Kabul on April 17.

Security officials in Kabul say a suicide bomber targeted a convoy of Afghan security forces in the capital.

Plumes of smoke could be seen from distant rooftops after a loud blast shook the city late on April 20.

Interior Ministry spokesman Tariq Arian said it was a suicide attack against Afghan security forces, without giving further details, according to Reuters.

TOLOnews quoted a security source as saying a suicide bombing targeted a convoy of Afghanistan’s main intelligence agency, the National Directorate of Security (NDS), at a traffic circle in Police District 15 of Kabul.

The report said at least four wounded people had been brought to the hospital.

No group claimed responsibility for the assault, which came after officials said at least 12 members of the Afghan security forces were killed in overnight attacks across the country.

The Taliban said it was behind at least two of those attacks.

U.S. President Joe Biden last week announced the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan by September 11, four months later than the May 1 deadline agreed by the previous U.S. administration with the Taliban.

In response, the Taliban announced it will not attend a high-level peace conference in Turkey scheduled for April 24.

Pakistan, Qatar, and Turkey are all exerting pressure on the Taliban to attend, according to media reports.

Experts have voiced concern that a devastating civil war could break out unless the government and the Taliban reach a political agreement before the complete withdrawal of international forces.

In the northern province of Badakhshan, at least eight police officers were killed and two wounded after militants attacked a checkpoint in Zebak district overnight, according to a member of the provincial government, Zakir Arian.

A police official confirmed the attack and the fact that there were casualties, but gave no numbers.

Militants also suffered casualties in the attack, sources told TOLOnews.

In the western province of Herat, officials said at least two members of the security forces were killed and 15 were wounded in a suicide car-bomb attack on a police headquarters in the Ghoryan district.

A dozen civilians, including children, were among the wounded, the provincial government said in a statement. Four residential houses were destroyed and many others were damaged partially, the statement said.

In Kabul, an army officer and his driver were shot dead by unidentified shooters, police said.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the car bombing and the checkpoint attack. Government officials also blamed the militant group.

With reporting by dpa, Reuters, TOLOnews, and RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan
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