Kabul bomb: Deadly blast targets Afghan Vice President Amrullah Saleh

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Kabul bomb: Deadly blast targets Afghan Vice President
Kabul bomb: Deadly blast targets Afghan Vice President

At least 10 people have been killed in a bomb attack in the Afghan capital Kabul that targeted First Vice President Amrullah Saleh.

Kabul bomb: Deadly blast targets Afghan Vice President

Mr Saleh, a former Afghan intelligence services head, escaped with slight burns on his face and hand, he said.

Footage filmed shortly after the explosion showed a large plume of black smoke rising from the scene.

The blast came as Afghan officials and the Taliban are prepared to begin their first formal talks.

Mr Saleh is known as a vocal opponent of the Taliban, and the former intelligence chief has survived several previous assassination attempts, including one last year that killed 20 people at his office.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a tweet that the militant group was not involved in the blast.

Tareq Arain, a spokesman for Afghanistan’s interior ministry, said the explosion targeted Mr Saleh’s convoy as he travelled to work. He said 10 civilians who worked in the area were killed and 15 people, including one of Mr Saleh’s bodyguards, were wounded.

Speaking after the blast, Mr Saleh vowed to continue his political work.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who met Mr Saleh soon after, condemned the attack.

“The terrorists and their foreign backers cannot undermine the people’s strong faith in peace, democracy and the bright future of our country,” Mr Ghani said in a statement.

A European Union delegation in Afghanistan condemned the attack, calling it a “desperate act by spoilers of peace efforts, who must be collectively confronted”

Afghan officials are expected to begin long delayed talks with the Taliban in the coming days in Doha, Qatar, in an attempt to reach a political reconciliation after years of bloodshed.

The Taliban signed a deal in February with the US to bring an end to 18 years of conflict between the two. The peace agreement put a stop to Taliban attacks on US forces but the militant group continued targeting the Afghan military and government.

But the Taliban did pledge in February not to launch attacks in urban areas, like the one in Kabul on Wednesday.

The so-called Islamic State group has also launched numerous high-profile attacks in Afghanistan in recent years. In August the group claimed responsibility for an operation against a prison in the eastern city of Jalalabad which left 29 people dead and allowed hundreds of inmates to escape.

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