Twin blasts near Afghan parliament, casualties feared

 10 Jan 2017 - 16:26

Twin blasts near Afghan parliament, casualties feared
Afghan policemen keep watch at the site of a suicide bomb attack in Kabul, Afghanistan January 10, 2017. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY.

AFP

Kabul: Twin bombs went off near the Afghan parliament in Kabul Tuesday, officials said, with major casualties feared in the rush-hour attack that shattered a relative lull in violence in the capital.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the bombings, which struck as employees were exiting the parliament complex. 

"The first explosion happened outside the parliament... a number of innocent workers were killed and wounded. It was caused by a suicide bomber on foot," Zabi, an injured parliament security guard, told AFP.

"The second one was a car bomb. It was parked on the other side of the road and flung me back when it detonated," he said.

The Taliban are pressing ahead with nationwide attacks despite the onset of winter, when fighting usually ebbs, even as international efforts intensify to jumpstart peace talks.

Repeated bids to launch peace negotiations with the Taliban have failed, with a fierce new fighting season expected to kick off in the spring. 

The bombings underline concerns over growing insecurity in Afghanistan, where around 10,000 US troops are assisting struggling Afghan forces to combat a resilient Taliban insurgency along with Al-Qaeda and Islamic State militants.

Afghanistan got scarcely a passing mention in the bitterly contested US presidential election -- even though the situation in the conflict-torn country will be an urgent matter for the new president.

President-elect Donald Trump has given few details on his expected foreign policy, with even fewer specifics on how he will tackle the war in Afghanistan.