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8 killed, 15 injured in Afghan car blast targeting politician

8 killed, 15 injured in Afghan car blast targeting politician
The car blast Sunday in Kabul, Afghanistan, that targeted Khan Mohammad Wardak, occurred amid an increase of such attacks throughout the Middle Eastern country. Photo by Hedayatullah Amid/EPA-EFE

Dec. 21 (UPI) -- A car bomb detonated in the Afghan capital of Kabul has killed at least eight people and injured 15 others including a member of parliament, officials said.

Tariq Arian, a spokesman for the Afghanistan Ministry of the Interior, said terrorists conducted the attack on Sunday, causing severe damage to houses around the blast site.

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Children, women and the elderly were among those injured, he said, adding that the death toll may rise.

In a statement, President Ashraf Ghani "vehemently denounced" the attack, which he said targeted the convoy of politician Khan Mohammad Wardak, who was injured in the blast.

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No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Arian said whoever was behind it "failed and certainly did not achieve their goals."

The blast was conducted amid a rash of such attacks throughout the country and ongoing negotiations between the government and the Taliban to end the near two-decade war in the Middle Eastern country.

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On Thursday, Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, made an unannounced visit to Afghanistan for a meeting with Ghani, during which "both side expressed their concerns over the escalation of violence ... and discussed the Afghan peace process and the immediate need for a cease-fire."

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Early this month, the Afghan government and the Taliban reached a breakthrough agreement on the rules and agenda for the peace talks, which are to resume in Qatar on Jan. 5.

The United States and the Taliban came to an agreement in February that states U.S. troops will be removed from Afghanistan by May 2021 if the Taliban meets certain security requirements. The agreement was a precursor to negotiations between the terrorist group and the Afghan government.

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The Ministry of the Interior said terrorists have conducted 37 suicide attacks and 510 blasts in the last three months.

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