An Afghan National Army soldier stands near the site of a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan on Thursday. Mohammad Ismail/ Reuters
Three bombs rocked the Afghan capital of Kabul on Thursday, with one hitting a bus carrying government employees, killing a total of at least 12 people, officials said.
Five employees of the 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.
No militant group has claimed responsibility for the attacks that came as US Marine General Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was meeting top US and NATO officials in Kabul.
The United States is trying to negotiate a deal that would see foreign forces pull out of Afghanistan in return for various security guarantees by Taliban militants, including a pledge that the country will not become a safe haven for terror groups.
Afghan security experts said the insurgents were increasing attacks to gain greater leverage in the peace talks.
The eighth round of talks is expected to begin this month in Qatar.
Fawad Aman, deputy spokesman for the Afghan Defense Ministry also says three other soldiers were wounded in Thursday's attack in the Chahar Asyab district in Kabul province.
The rush-hour explosion sent a plume of smoke into the air above the Puli Mahmood Khan neighbourhood of the Afghan capital and shook buildings up to two kilometres (1.2 miles) away, with the media reporter saying he could hear gunshots after the blast.
A car bomb apparently targeted at a convoy of vehicles belonging to an international organization exploded in Kabul on Friday, killing or wounding at least seven people, officials said, the second attack in the Afghan capital in two days.
About 30 trailers and Hummers carrying heavier duty equipment crossed, with troops in cars coming through, the source added. A second security source in Mosul also said US troops had crossed into Iraq from Sahela.
Voters are casting ballots in two Indian states where Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist party is seeking a second consecutive term. Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party is expected to win the elections on Monday
Spain’s acting prime minister, Pedro Sanchez, said he would travel to Barcelona on Monday to visit police officers injured in protests that have rocked the Spanish region of Catalonia.