Taliban claims deadly auto bomb attack in Kabul

Top Pakistan Security Official to Visit Afghanistan for Crucial Talks

It was the fourth suicide attack in Kabul in three weeks and comes days after the top USA general in the country said protecting the war-weary city was "our main effort".

"Around 9:10am this morning a suicide vehicle bomb exploded in Police District Nine of Kabul", interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish said, adding the target of the attack was not clear.

One attack in Kabul alone killed more than 100 people in May 2017 near the German embassy.

Gen. Nicholson's remarks about protecting Kabul also come soon after USA -backed Afghan President Ashraf Ghani offered the Taliban a ceasefire and political legitimacy.

Wahid Majroh, spokesman for the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), told the news agency at least three bodies and four injured people had been evacuated to hospital.

The Taliban claimed the second attack but many officials say it bore the hallmarks of the Haqqanis, who the United States says enjoy safe haven in neighboring Pakistan.

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Jan Agha said the attacker targeted a "foreign convoy" on Saturday but was not successful.

"Kabul is our main effort right now, to harden Kabul, to protect the people of Kabul and the worldwide community that are here because of the strategic impact that has and the importance to the campaign", General John Nicholson said on Wednesday.

According to a 2017 SIGAR report, "October and November were two of the deadliest months for civilians", and the danger of more such casualties from the sustained air campaign "could erode support for the Afghan government and potentially increase support for the insurgency".

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast.

In a tweet, Mr. Ghani said the invitation to Pakistani PM is part of "state-to-state comprehensive dialogue" initiative.

But James Mattis, the U.S. defence secretary, said on Tuesday during an unannounced visit to Kabul that the elements of the Taliban are open to talks with the Afghan government.

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