A roadside bomb exploded in Afghanistan’s capital killing at least three people in a vehicle on Sunday, the latest attack to take place even as government negotiators are in Qatar to resume peace talks with the Taliban.
Tariq Arian, spokesman for the interior minister, said a spokesman for the ministry’s public protection force was one of the three killed in the attack.
Zia Wadan was spokesman for the National Public Protection Force, a security service under the interior ministry that deploys guards to international organisations across Afghanistan.
Wadan and his colleagues were killed in morning rush-hour traffic in an eastern part of the capital, interior ministry spokesman Arian told reporters.
“A vehicle carrying Zia Wadan was targeted with an IED [improvised explosive device] … As a result, Wadan and two of his colleagues were killed,” Arian said, adding another person was wounded.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.
Deadly violence has surged across the country in recent months, and a new trend of targeted killings that has sown fear, especially in Kabul.
High-profile figures including journalists, politicians and rights activists have increasingly been targeted despite peace talks between the government and Taliban.
Since November, five journalists have been killed in targeted killings along with several other prominent figures.
The armed group ISIL (ISIS) has claimed responsibility for multiple attacks in the capital in recent months, including on educational institutions that killed 50 people, most of them students. ISIL also claimed responsibility for rocket attacks in December targeting the major United States base in Afghanistan. There were no casualties.
The Taliban, meanwhile, has continued its fight against government forces while keeping a promise not to attack US and NATO troops.
Qatar talks resume
Sunday’s attack comes as Afghan negotiators resumed negotiations with the Taliban aimed at finding an end to decades of relentless conflict. Frustration and fear have grown over a spike in violence that has combatants on both sides blaming the other.
The stop-and-go talks between the Taliban and the government come amid growing doubt over a US-Taliban peace deal brokered by the administration of outgoing President Donald Trump. An accelerated withdrawal of US troops ordered by Trump means just 2,500 American soldiers will still be in Afghanistan when President-elect Joe Biden takes office this month.
Biden has advocated for keeping a small intelligence-based presence in Afghanistan, but Taliban leaders have flatly rejected any foreign troops.