Taliban kills civilians, two NATO troops

A Taliban suicide blast in the centre of Kabul has killed at least 10 civilians and two NATO soldiers, destroying cars and shops in an area near the headquarters of Afghanistan's international military force and the US embassy.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack even as the insurgents and US officials have been negotiating a deal on an American troop withdrawal in exchange for Taliban security guarantees.

"At least 10 civilians have been killed and 42 injured were taken to hospitals," said Nasrat Rahimi, a spokesman for the interior ministry.

The NATO-led Resolute Support mission said in a statement a Romanian and a US member of the force were killed in action in Kabul. It did not provide any more details.

A senior Afghan interior ministry official said the two soldiers were killed in the suicide bomb attack and their vehicle was the main target.

The death of the US service member brings the number of American troops killed in Afghanistan this year to 16, including three last month.

Several cars and small shops were torn apart by the blast at a checkpoint on a road near the NATO office and US embassy. Police cordoned off the area.

Witnesses said the suicide bomber blew himself up as many people were standing nearby or crossing the road.

There has been no let-up in violence in Afghanistan even though both the Taliban and US officials have reported progress in negotiations aimed at securing a deal on US withdrawal.

President Ashraf Ghani accepted the resignation of the head of Afghanistan's powerful security agency NDS on Thursday over a separate incident overnight in the eastern city of Jalalabad.

The NDS had said it killed four men suspected of ties to Islamic State, but some local officials said four brothers with no ties to militants had been killed.


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