Loud explosion heard in central Kabul, casualties feared

AFP . Kabul | Update:

Map of Afghanistan locating Kabul, where a loud explosion was heard on Thursday. Photo: AFPA loud explosion shook central Kabul on Thursday, with casualties feared in yet another apparent attack to rock the Afghan capital as the US and Taliban negotiate a deal.

The blast took place in Shash Darak, a heavily fortified area adjacent to the Green Zone and home to several important complexes including the National Directorate of Security (NDS), the Afghan intelligence service.

"We confirm an explosion in the Shash Darak area" at about 10:10 am (05:40 GMT), interior ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said.

An Afghan security official told AFP there had been casualties, and that the blast took place near a checkpoint.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

On Monday, at least 16 people were killed in a Taliban attack on a residential area in east Kabul.

The capital has been gripped by a surge in deadly violence even after the US and the Taliban have reached an agreement "in principle" that would see the Pentagon pull thousands of troops from Afghanistan in return for various Taliban security promises.

But there is increasing unease about the deal, with Afghans fearing it will lead to a return of the Taliban to power, and a growing chorus of US lawmakers and officials expressing doubts.

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