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Two killed, five injured in Kabul blast as govt navigates peace deal with Taliban

Two killed, five injured in Kabul blast as govt navigates peace deal with Taliban
An explosion in Kabul has killed two people and left several others injured, according to local media citing officials. The violence comes amid an ongoing rocky peace process with the Taliban.

Two civilians and five policemen were killed in the explosion, Afghanistan’s TOLO News reported. A spokesman for the Kabul police told the outlet that a mine had exploded after security personnel tried to diffuse it. A photograph purportedly taken at the scene shows bystanders gathered around a large fire on a busy street, with a plume of dark smoke rising from the blaze. 

It’s not clear if anyone has taken responsibility for the attack. The blast comes as the Kabul government continues to pursue a peace deal with the Taliban. On Friday, thousands of Afghan elders, community leaders, and politicians assembled to discuss the cessation of violence with the militant group. Afghanistan's president announced that 400 Taliban prisoners would be freed, becoming the last bunch of some 5,000 Taliban prisoners. Their release was agreed as part of a February pact between the US and the Taliban. It was set as a condition for talks between the militants and the US-backed government.

The US has already begun a phased withdrawal from the country. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said in an interview on Saturday that peace negotiations have been a “windy road” but were making progress.

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