U.S. Envoy Declares 'A Lot Of Progress' In Taliban Peace Talks

Afghan schoolgirls gather their backpacks and books at a school near the site of a Taliban car bomb attack in Kabul

A vehicle bomb attack by the Taliban militant group has killed at least a dozen people, including security forces and civilians, in the country's central province of Ghazni.

The attack occurred while the US and Taliban negotiators were conducting a seventh round of direct talks in Doha, Qatar, in a bid to bring an end to 18 years of Afghan hostilities.

Islamist Taliban fighters detonated a auto bomb in Ghazni city near an office of Afghanistan's main intelligence service, the National Directorate of Security (NDS), during Sunday morning's rush hour, officials said.

The NDS said that the attack took place at a security check-post located at the first entrance of one of its facilities in Ghazni.

A provincial government spokesman, Arif Noori told VOA that the attack killed 12 people, including civilians and injured more than 50 others, including students.

The number of wounded jumped up from an earlier toll of 70 and suggests a massive explosion.

Pakistani security personnel take position outside an Agriculture Training Institute after an attack by Taliban militants in Peshawar on 1 December 2017.

In this file picture taken on April 28, 2019, USA special representative for Afghan peace and reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad speaks all over a discussion board with Afghan director of TOLO news Lotfullah Najafizada, at the Tolo TV space in Kabul, Afghanistan.

The attack came at the onset of a two-day meeting between Afghan citizens and the militants, meant to open the way to a peace process that should build on a hoped-for deal between the United States and the Taliban to end the longest ever USA war.

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This article was from Agence France Presse and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Talks have covered a timeframe for the withdrawal of US and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troops from Afghanistan, verifiable anti-terror guarantees from the Taliban, intra-Afghan negotiations and an eventual cease-fire.

A massive suicide vehicle bombing on Sunday killed at least 12 people and injured 180 others in Afghanistan's restive central Ghazni province, officials and the local media confirmed.

The separate intra-Afghan talks set to start on Sunday are expected to be attended by around 60 delegates, including political figures, women and other Afghan stakeholders.

Although both sides have emphasized that members of Afghan government are attending in their personal capacity, not representing Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's government, their presence makes this conference different from the intra-Afghan conference in Moscow in April.

Dozens of powerful Afghans resumed talks with the Taliban on Monday in Doha, where a possible ceasefire is on the table along with key issues such as women s rights.

But the Taliban agreed to meet with individuals in the Afghan government who are part of an intra-Afghan delegation that also includes opposition politicians, women, and members of Afghan nongovernmental organizations.

"They stain their hands with the blood of innocent people in Afghanistan every day".

The Taliban took responsibility for detonating a auto bomb at the start of a lengthy gun fight outside a defense ministry compound in the capital, Kabul, last week. They were mostly rushed to the provincial hospital, though there were some exceptions.

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