Car bomb blast near high-security compound in Kabul kills four, 90 wounded

KABUL (Reuters) - At least four people were killed and 90 wounded when a bomb-laden car blew up near a high-security compound in the Afghan capital Kabul on Monday, officials said.

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An Afghan government security official said the blast occurred on Jalalabad Road in eastern Kabul near the Green Village compound, home to several international companies and charities.

“Most of the victims were civilians,” said Najib Danish, an Interior Ministry spokesman. Twenty-three children were among the injured, he added.

Police spokesman Basir Mujahid said a vehicle full of explosives had been detonated. “The area is cordoned off ... and search operation underway for suspects and attackers,” he said.

“It was a powerful car bomb that knocked (down) a wall between Green Village and the customs office,” a security source said.

Hayat Khan was having dinner with his family at his home when the explosion shattered the windows.

“All of my family are wounded. They have received injuries on the head, hands, legs and on the neck,” he said.

Khan and his family were being treated at the Wazir Akbar Khan hospital, where a Reuters witness saw dozens of severely injured people who had been rushed there from the blast site.

An official at Kabul’s Emergency Hospital said 15 wounded had been brought there.

A senior Interior Ministry official said the explosion destroyed at least three checkpoints.

“Residential buildings nearby have sustained heavy damage and several private guards around the Green Village checkpoints were critically injured,” the official said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombing. Green Village has come under Islamist militant attack in the past.

The latest attack comes as U.S. special peace envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad tours the region for meetings aimed at bringing an end to the 17-year war in Afghanistan.

Last week, Taliban leaders called off a fourth round of talks with U.S. officials in Qatar due to an “agenda disagreement” and refused to allow what they called “puppet” Afghan government officials join the talk.

There has been no lull in fighting even as the talks intensify and the Taliban carry out near-daily attacks, mainly targeting security forces, government officials and civilians as human shields.

The last major attack in the capital took place in late December when 43 were killed inside a government compound targeted by a suicide bomber and extremists armed with assault rifles. No group has claimed responsibility for the incident.

Additional reporting by Rupam Jain and Sayed Hassib; Writing by Charlotte Greenfield; Editing by Janet Lawrence