At least 53 wounded as powerful car bomb rocks Kabul

At least 53 wounded as powerful car bomb rocks Kabul

Then a group of assailants, including suicide bombers, entered the facility, sparking an hours-long gun battle with police and security forces, they added.

Health Ministry spokesman Wahidullah Mayar told RFE/RL that one person died in the violence, while 93 injured people, including nine children, were taken to hospitals for treatment.

Shams Amini, a spokesman for the Afghan Football Federation, told AFP that the blast occurred near their headquarters gates, and said some colleagues had been injured.

Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah condemned the Taliban attack, saying it "showcases the group's inherent criminal nature" and vowed the violence will not deter security forces from pursuing and punishing the "miscreants".

The blast outside a military compound in Kabul sent smoke billowing into the air and shook buildings more than a mile away, before gunmen apparently special forces nearby.

'At first, a vehicle bomb took place and then several attackers took over a building.

"These children were in the classrooms when the blast shattered the glass windows", said spokeswoman Nooria Nazhat.

The heavily-secured neighbourhood is home to some military and government buildings, including one shared by Afghanistan's intelligence agency and defence ministry, as well as the Afghan Football Federation and Cricket Board.

A security forces soldier arrives at the site of an explosion in Kabul, Afghanistan, July 1, 2019.

President Ghani in a statement said that the attack shows that the Taliban is willing to continue violence and war.

Two sources at the peace talks said direct negotiations between the warring sides was unlikely to go beyond Monday, but there was no official statement about the suspension of the ongoing talks.

"We strongly condemn the Taliban's latest brutal attack against fellow [Afghans]", the U.S. Embassy in Kabul said.

Sohail Shaheen, spokesman for the Taliban political office in Doha, said the group's key concern was to make sure a timeline for a foreign troop pullout is announced.

United States officials have previously said they are hoping for a deal before the upcoming Afghan presidential elections, which have already been delayed twice and are now set for September.

During a visit last week to the Afghan capital, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington would like to see an agreement before September 1, considered an ambitious deadline by analysts but likely linked to Afghan presidential polls scheduled for later that month. Some U.S. forces carry out counter-terrorism operations.

The ministry of defence said on Monday 67 insurgents were killed in 11 provinces in the last 24 hours.

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