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Car bomb targets US convoy in Afghan capital, several casualties

Afghans look at at a car hit damaged a suicide bomb blast in Kabul, Afghanistan May 31, 2019. (Omar Sobhani/Reuters)

A car bomb targeting a U.S. convoy exploded in the Afghan capital on Friday, wounding four U.S. service members and causing a number of other casualties, officials said, in the second attack in the city in two days.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the blast, which came a day after the Islamic State militant group claimed a suicide attack outside a military training academy that killed at least six people.

A spokesman for U.S. Forces in Afghanistan said a car bomb hit a U.S. convoy and four service members had suffered minor injuries but gave no other details.

However, there were conflicting reports about the total number of casualties caused by the blast.

An Afghan security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly, said as many as nine people had been killed and six civilians wounded in the blast.

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The Taliban’s main spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said in a statement the attack targeted a convoy of foreign forces, killing 10 of them and destroying two vehicles.

The explosion, which sent a plume of white smoke into the sky, occurred on the busy Jalalabad road in the city’s east, an area with several large security compounds which has seen repeated attacks over the years.

Photographs circulating on social media showed a heavily damaged white armored Land Cruiser of a type often used by international organizations, surrounded by fire fighters.

Kabul has been on high alert, with security checkpoints reinforced across the city, in recent days.

Friday’s attack, shortly before next week’s Eid holiday, came as a delegation of Taliban officials met senior Afghan politicians in Moscow for discussions about a possible peace process to end 18 years of war in Afghanistan.

The Taliban have been talking with U.S. diplomats for several months about plans to agree a withdrawal of more than 20,000 U.S. and NATO coalition troops in exchange for an agreement to prevent Afghanistan from once again being used as a base for militant attacks.

(Additional reporting by Hamid Shalizi; Writing by James Mackenzie; Editing by Darren Schuettler and Clarence Fernandez)

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