1 killed, 19 injured in Kabul explosion

1 killed, 19 injured in Kabul explosion

A large explosion in the eastern part of the Afghan capital has killed at least one person - a young girl - and wounded 19, officials said.

The blast occurred in the eastern area of Qabil Bay - home to a police station, customs offices and some guest houses - Basir Mujahid, spokesman for the Kabul police chief, said.

Some 19 people were also wounded in the blast, including five children and two women, Mohammad Mus Zahir, a doctor at Wazir Akbar Khan hospital, said.

Najib Danish, spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said the source of the explosion was a vehicle belonging to a foreign company.

At the blast site, blood pooled on the pavement amid rubble in front of a destroyed building.

Residents in the area said the explosion was a suicide attack.

Kabul has recently seen a spate of large-scale militant attacks by the Taliban and also the Islamic State group, whose affiliate in Afghanistan has grown stronger since it emerged in 2014.

In late January, a Taliban attacker drove an ambulance filled with explosives into the heart of the city, killing at least 103 people and wounding as many as 235.

The Taliban claimed the ambulance attack, as well as an attack a week earlier in which militants stormed a luxury hotel in Kabul, killing 22 people, including 14 foreigners, and setting off a 13-hour battle with security forces.

The recent attacks have underscored the weaknesses of Afghan security forces more than 16 years after the US-led invasion toppled the Taliban.

On Wednesday, Afghan president Ashraf Ghani called on the Taliban to take part in peace talks to "save the country", offering security and incentives such as passports to insurgents who join the negotiations.

Separately, the Taliban said on Friday they had released five of 19 people they say they abducted on Tuesday along the boundary between the southern Kandahar and Uruzgan provinces.

At the time, General Abdul Raziq, Kandahar's police chief, said insurgents wearing army uniforms stopped a bus and abducted 30 people.

- Press Association

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