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Three blasts rock Afghan capital, govt employees killed

Omar Sobhani, Reuters | A wounded woman receives treatment at a hospital after a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan July 25, 2019.

Three back-to-back bomb attacks rocked the Afghan capital, Kabul on Thursday, with one hitting a bus carrying government employees, killing at least 12 people, officials said.

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Five employees of Afghanistan's Ministry of Mines and Petroleum were killed and 10 wounded in the bus attack, the officials said, adding that seven people were killed and more than 20 wounded in the second explosion.

"First a magnetic bomb pasted to a minibus exploded, then a suicide bomber blew himself near the bus attack site and the third blast happened when a car was blown up by unknown militants," said Nasrat Rahimi, a spokesman of the interior ministry in Kabul.

"The death toll could rise from all the three blasts," he said.

Gruesome video footage posted on Twitter by the Afghan Tolo TV station showed at least one body lying on a blood soaked street next to the chassis of a destroyed minivan. Ambulances rushed to the scene, ferrying victims to city hospitals and the area was closed off by security personnel.

Taliban claim responsibility for one Kabul attack

The Taliban claimed one attack targeting "foreign invaders" in a message posted on Twitter by its spokesman, who uses the nom de guerre, Mujahid Zabihullah. The militant group denied involvement in the other two attacks in the city.

The Afghan government on Thursday condemned the "senseless and inhumane" attacks in Kabul. In a statement posted on Twitter, Sediq Seddiqi, spokesman for Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, said the Taliban "must be held responsible for the heinous crimes they commit against the people".

The bombing comes amid an increase in violence in Kabul and around Afghanistan, where the war is taking a continued toll even amid a US-led effort to make a peace deal with the Taliban.

The US is negotiating for a deal that would see foreign forces pull out of the country in return for various Taliban security guarantees, including a pledge that Afghanistan will not become a safe haven for terror groups.

Some observers say the insurgents are increasing attacks to gain greater leverage in the talks.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP and REUTERS)

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