Blast in residential area of Kabul, 16 killed

A massive blast in a residential area of Kabul killed at least 16 people, officials said Tuesday, following yet another Taliban attack that came as the insurgents and Washington try to finalize a peace deal.

US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad was in the Afghan capital to discuss the proposed deal — which would see the US withdraw troops in return for Taliban security guarantees — when the Monday bombing happened.

Interior ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said the blast was caused by a tractor packed with explosives that had been parked alongside a wall by Green Village, a large compound that houses aid agencies and international organisations.

In addition to the 16 killed, 119 were wounded in the attack, Rahimi said, noting a search-and-rescue operation had lasted through the night.

The bombing was the third major Taliban attack in as many days. The insurgents launched multi-fronted attacks on two key cities in the north on the weekend, killing and wounding dozens of security forces and civilians.

Residents in the area around Kabul’s Green Village were furious that their neighborhood, which has been targeted before, had been hit once again and blamed the assault on the nearby international presence.

Locals set tires on fire, sending plumes of thick, acrid smoke into the morning sky, and closed off a main road next to the scene of the attack. The sound of gunfire could be heard on a live TV broadcast Monday morning.


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