Afghanistan: Car bomb explodes in Kabul, at least six wounded

Union Minster General V K Singh

A statement from the governor's office in Helmand confirmed that 16 Taliban insurgents were killed and said that an investigation was under way to determine the number of civilian casualties.

The interior ministry and police both said the blast had been a auto bomb targeting a compound which houses G4S, a British security company, in east Kabul.

"It is unfortunate and events like this bolster our resolve for peace", said Hamdullah Mohib, the Afghan national security adviser, on the sidelines of a UN-sponsored conference in Geneva where Ghani repeated calls for peace with the Taliban.

Of the roughly 14,000 American forces still serving in Afghanistan, most are there to advise and assist Afghan troops who despite 17 years of fighting have continued to lose ground against a resurgent Taliban.

A statement from the group said: "We can confirm that there has been an incident at one of our locations in Kabul".

The conference comes at a time when the United States administration is holding direct talks with the Taliban, Afghanistan's largest armed group which was toppled following a US-led invasion in 2001.

Afghan officials say at least 10 people have been killed and 19 wounded in an attack that targeted a security contractors' compound in the capital, Kabul.

In recent years both the United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation have pulled their forces away from direct combat, instead focusing on providing advice and assistance to Afghan security forces.

Three US soldiers were killed and three wounded by a bomb in Afghanistan Tuesday, NATO said, with the attack claimed by the Taliban as the US tries to ratchet up efforts to engage the militants in peace talks. He said the company was now "coordinating with the Afghan authorities to bring it to a conclusion".

Eyewitnesses said that eight wounded were taken to Wazir Akbar Khan Hospital following the explosion.

Security officials have warned that violence is likely to escalate alongside peace moves as the Taliban seeks to strengthen its position before any formal negotiations.

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