KABUL--A Taliban suicide bomber killed 14 people and wounded 145 in the Afghan capital Kabul on Wednesday, an attack the government said raised questions about the militants' commitment to peace despite an expected deal with the United States.
There has been no let-up in violence in Afghanistan even though the Taliban and the United States appear close to a pact for U.S. troops to withdraw in exchange for a Taliban promise that Afghanistan will not be used as a base for international terrorism.
The truck bomb in the west of the capital during the morning rush hour sent a huge cloud of grey smoke into the sky. The Taliban said one of their suicide bombers had attacked a "recruitment centre" in response to government attacks in the countryside.
Most of the dead and wounded were civilians, including women and children, government officials said. "Continued Taliban attacks indicate that they have no commitment to peace," Sediq Sediqqi, a spokesman for President Ashraf Ghani, told a news conference.
Zalmay Khalizad, the U.S. envoy negotiating with the Taliban to end America's longest war, condemned the blast. "Indiscriminate attacks and intentional injury to civilians are never warranted," Khalizad tweeted. "The focus should be on immediately reducing violence as we move closer to intra-Afghan negotiations that will produce a political roadmap and a permanent ceasefire."
President Donald Trump has announced his aim to end a war launched in the days after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. Khalizad began his negotiations late last year in Qatar but the talking has not brought a reduction in the violence. And the violence has had virtually no impact on the talks. Both sides reported significant progress this week in their efforts to forge a pact.