Second loud blast, gunfire rock Kabul near ‘Green Zone’ No militant group immediately claims responsibility

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Kabul

A second loud blast followed by rapid gunfire rocked Kabul on Tuesday, less than two hours after a similar explosion went off in the Afghan capital, AFP correspondents reported.

The second blast was also followed by some smaller explosions in a central part of the city, not far from the heavily fortified Green Zone that houses several foreign embassies, including the United States mission.

Earlier after the first explosion, a senior security official said the blast appeared to have been caused by a car bomb and the apparent target was the residence of a member of parliament.

Two gunmen were still in the area and clashing with Afghan security forces, the official said.

The city’s Emergency Hospital said in a tweet it had so far received six people wounded in the attack. No militant group immediately claimed responsibility.

Minutes after the blast hundreds of civilians in Kabul came out on to the streets and chanted Allahu Akbar (God is Greatest) to express their support for Afghan government forces and opposition to the Taliban.

Last week residents in western Herat braved the streets despite nearby fighting to protest against the Taliban.

Other cities quickly organised to join the chant from their homes in the evenings, as a message of support for embattled security forces.
Clashes between Afghan forces and the Taliban have intensified across the country with the insurgent group gaining control over check points, trading posts and infrastructure projects.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in a phone call on Tuesday agreed on the need to speed up Afghan peace talks and condemned ongoing attacks by the Taliban, the US State Department said.

In a statement outlining the discussion, State Department spokesman Ned Price said Blinken reiterated the “strong and enduring US commitment to Afghanistan”.

Blinken also took to Twitter to share details of his telephonic conversation with the Afghan president.

He said he reiterated the strong and enduring US commitment to Afghanistan. “We discussed the need to accelerate peace negotiations toward an inclusive political settlement that respects the rights of all Afghans, including women and girls,” he added.AFP

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