Afghan intelligence officials killed in Taliban car bombing

At least seven people killed and 40 others wounded in attack in Ghazni city claimed by the Taliban armed group.

    Afghan security officials secure the road leading to the scene of a suicide bomb blast that targeted the office of Afghan National Directorate of Security [Sayed Mustafa/EPA]
    Afghan security officials secure the road leading to the scene of a suicide bomb blast that targeted the office of Afghan National Directorate of Security [Sayed Mustafa/EPA]

    A car bomb attack targeting an Afghan intelligence agency installation in the eastern province of Ghazni has killed at least seven people and wounded 40 others, an official said.

    "The terrorists have used a humvee in their attack. They have targeted the National Directorate of Security unit in Ghazni city," Wahidullah Jumazada, spokesman for the governor, told the AFP news agency on Monday.

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    "Most of the victims are intelligence personnel," Jumazada added.

    The interior ministry in Kabul and a health official in Ghazni also confirmed the attack.

    Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the armed group was behind the attack in Ghazni province, a Taliban stronghold.

    The provincial capital, also called Ghazni, briefly fell under Taliban control twice in recent years. The province has in the past been the scene of many large-scale attacks against both Afghan and NATO forces.

    The attack came a day after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and his political rival, Abdullah Abdullah, signed a power-sharing agreement, two months after both declared themselves the winner of last September's presidential election.

    The political deal would see Ghani remain president of the war-torn nation while Abdullah would lead the country's National Reconciliation High Council.

    Ghani and Abdullah, who held parallel inauguration ceremonies in March, had been locked in a power struggle since the vote. The discord prompted the Trump administration to announce it would cut $1bn in assistance to Afghanistan if the two leaders did not work out their differences.

    A peace agreement between the US and the Taliban, signed on February 29, calls for American and NATO troops to leave Afghanistan. It was seen at the time as Afghanistan's best chance at peace, following decades of war.

    Political turmoil

    Since the signing, the US has been trying to get the Taliban and the Afghan government to begin intra-Afghan negotiations, but the political turmoil and personal acrimony between Ghani and Abdullah impeded talks. Negotiations that were to take place in March never happened.

    Last Tuesday, gunmen stormed a maternity hospital in Kabul, killing 24 people, including mothers, nurses and two babies.

    Also on Tuesday, a suicide bomber targeted the funeral of a pro-government militia commander in the eastern province of Nangarhar, killing 32 people and wounding 133 others.

    That attack was claimed by the ISIL (ISIS) armed group.

    Afghanistan Ghazni map

    SOURCE: News agencies