At least four people have been killed and another six injured after a suicide bomber targeted a convoy of security forces in the Afghan capital, Kabul, in the latest attack claimed by the Taliban armed group.
The blast took place in Paghman district in western Kabul early on Tuesday as the convoy was returning from an overnight operation, Interior Ministry Spokesman Najib Danish told AFP news agency.
“It is still not clear whether the attacker was on foot or driving a vehicle,” the spokesman said.
Another security official, who wished to remain anonymous, said the attacker had used a car bomb to target the convoy.
Attacks on Afghan forces by the Taliban have been inflicting record-high casualties on security personnel this year.
The early morning attack in Kabul came hours after an overnight assault by Taliban fighters on a checkpoint in Arghistan, a district in southern Kandahar province. At least eight police officers were killed, according to the provincial media office.
An estimated 2,798 civilians have been killed and 5,252 others injured in attacks across the country from January to September this year, according to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).
Last month, President Ashraf Ghani said 28,529 Afghan security forces had been killed since the start of 2015, a figure far higher than anything previously acknowledged. That is an average of around 20 soldiers killed every day.
The surge in violence comes as the United States is pushing for a peaceful resolution of the 17-year-old conflict, while the Taliban has increasingly asserted control over vast tracts of the country.
US President Donald Trump‘s administration is holding direct talks with the Taliban, which was toppled following a US-led invasion in 2001. Taliban officials have held three days of talks with US special representative for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad in Qatar, aimed at renewing the peace process.
Last month, President Ghani formed a 12-member team to hold peace talks with the Taliban as his government tries to bring peace ahead of next year’s presidential elections.