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Roadside Bomb Kills Three In Kabul, Including Afghan Security Spokesman


Afghan officials inspect the wreckage of a burnt car at the site of a bomb blast in Kabul on January 10.

A spokesman for Afghanistan's public-protection forces has been killed along with two other people after their vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb in the capital, Kabul.

A spokesman for the country's interior minister said another passenger had been injured in the blast, which struck during morning rush hour on January 10.

No one initially claimed responsibility for the seemingly targeted attack.

But President Ashraf Ghani "vehemently condemned the terrorist attack" and blamed it on the Taliban, with whom Afghan officials recently restarted peace talks in Qatar.

"The spike in violence by the Taliban is against [the] spirit of commitment for peace and indicates the group still pursues their hawkish attitude to take innocent lives and damage public facilities," the presidential office said via Twitter, quoting Ghani.

Zia Wadan was a former journalist who became a spokesman for the Interior Ministry's public-protection forces, one of war-torn Afghanistan's battered security organizations.

The Taliban has continued its violent insurgency against the central government despite the hope of a lasting peace through the Qatar process, while the extremist Islamic State (IS) group has claimed responsibility for multiple attacks in the capital in recent months.

Five journalists, a Kabul deputy governor, and a prominent election activist have been killed in the Kabul area since November.

Afghan authorities on January 9 announced the arrest of three suspects in connection with the deadly ambush in December on the car of election activist Yusuf Rasheed, but they did not identify the suspects or any affiliations.

After a nearly monthlong break in negotiations, representatives of the government and the Taliban met in Qatar this week for preliminary talks aimed at starting a second round of stalled peace talks on January 9.

Ghani has said his goal is to transition power to an "elected successor" and that he seeks a "positive peace" with the Taliban.

Under a U.S.-Taliban deal agreed in February, all foreign forces are scheduled to leave Afghanistan by May 2021 in exchange for security guarantees from the militant group.

With reporting by AP and AFP
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