Explosion close to Military Academy in West of Kabul city, casualties feared

Clay Curtis
February 14, 2020

According to the ministry, a suicide bomber blew himself up at a roundabout close to the Marshal Fahim Military Academy.

A witness said there was a big explosion followed by gunfire.

The academy was also the site where US Army Maj Gen. Harold J. Greene lost his life - the highest-ranking US military officer to be killed in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

"The great nation of Afghanistan wants an end to violence, an end to the war, a ceasefire, and an enduring peace", he said.

There was no immediate response from Washington on the ultimatum, which appeared created to focus the negotiations on Taliban demands. Alongside the Taliban, other militants operate in Afghanistan, including the Islamic State group.

The Taliban has not attacked any major regions or cities in recent times to maintain the talks with the US.

On July 12, at least six people were killed when a suicide bomber attacked a wedding ceremony in the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar.

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Four foreign nationals were among those wounded in the attack that targeted an SUV belonging to a private Canadian security company, GardaWorld - in a crowded neighbourhood near the interior ministry and north of Kabul airport.

Tuesday's attack comes as Washington and the Taleban wrangle over a possible deal that would see United States troops begin to leave Afghanistan in return for security guarantees.

"I think that we're making significant progress", O'Brien said at an event hosted by the Atlantic Council in Washington.

The US and Taliban had been negotiating for a year and were on the brink of an announcement in September 2019 when President Donald Trump abruptly declared the process "dead", citing ongoing violence.

The U.S. military is planning to spend less on the war in Afghanistan than at any other time in over a decade, partly because of an expected drawdown of American forces from the country, a draft Defense Department budget shows.

Robert O'Brien was asked whether Trump would sign off on an agreement where both the Taliban and US forces would pledge to adhere to a "reduction in violence" - a move that could lead to all-Afghan negotiations to end the decades-long conflict and outline a political future for the country.

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