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Asia-pacific

Three deadly explosions rock Afghan city of Kandahar

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-01-03

Three bomb attacks killed at least 12 and injured 28 others in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar on Tuesday, a police commander said. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the first attack, in which a tricycle detonated downtown.

AFP - At least 12 people were killed and 28 others injured in three bomb attacks in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar on Tuesday, a police commander said.

In the early evening, a suicide bomber detonated a tricycle in downtown Kandahar, killing four civilians and three policeman and injuring over a dozen, the police chief for the province General Abdul Raziq told AFP.

Earlier in the day, another suicide bomber set off an explosive-laden motorbike in the city centre, killing four children and one policeman, Raziq said. Sixteen others, including policemen and civilians, were injured.

That attack was aimed at a mobile police post, he said. Taliban claimed responsibility for the first attack.

The latest blast, which no one has so far claimed responsibility for, happened just minutes after a smaller explosion, likely caused by an improvised explosive device, Raziq added.

The police have arrived at the site to investigate the attacks, he added. A doctor in the city's Mirwais hospital confirmed the casualties.

There are about 130,000 international troops in Afghanistan fighting the Taliban-led insurgency, with 91,000 of them from the United States.

The Taliban, toppled in late 2001 in a US-led invasion, are waging an insurgency against the government which has intensified in recent years, with an increase in incidents of roadside bomb attacks and suicide explosions.

The latest deadly bombings comes as Taliban confirmed that the group was in talks to open a liaison office, likely in Qatar as part of negotiations with the United States.

It is the first time the insurgent group has publicly raised the prospect of a negotiated peace after more than 10 years of fighting, always previously insisting they would not talk until all foreign troops had left Afghan soil.

In a statement on their purported website "Voice of Jihad", the Islamists said they had held "preliminary talks with relevant sides including Qatar" to open an office outside Afghanistan, without confirming where it would be.

One of their demands would be for a prisoner exchange to include the release of Taliban inmates from the US-run detention facility Guantanamo Bay, they said.

"We're now prepared, while having a strong presence inside (Afghanistan), to have a political office outside (Afghanistan) for negotiations," the statement said.

"And as part of this we have reached initial agreement with relevant sides including Qatar."

NATO-led combat forces are set to leave the country by the end of 2014, handing control for security to Afghan forces.

However the United States and its NATO allies have been pressing for political solutions to secure an end to the war before their scheduled departure.

Date created : 2012-01-03

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