Suicide car bomber attacks Afghan capital, at least one dead

KABUL (Reuters) - A suicide car bomber struck on Friday in the Afghan capital of Kabul, killing one person and wounding 14 bystanders, officials said, but there was no immediate claim of responsibility.

The attack came two days after President Ashraf Ghani offered to start peace talks with the Taliban, and just over a month after an ambulance packed with explosives was detonated in the city center, killing about 100 people.

Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish said the cause of the explosion was a car bomb in the city’s Qabl Bai area. One person had been killed and 14 bystanders wounded, he added, with all the casualties civilians.

Bismillah Tabaan, commander of police in the city’s ninth district, said it had been a suicide bombing.

The intended target was not clear, but a statement from the Australian Foreign Ministry said the explosion took place near Australian embassy vehicles as they were traveling in the city. It said no one from the embassy had been harmed.

Much of the center of Kabul is already a zone of concrete blast walls, razor wire and police checkpoints, but security has been tightened even further in the wake of the Jan. 27 ambulance attack and another attack on the city’s Intercontinental Hotel earlier in the month.

Reporting by James Mackenzie and Hamid Shalizi; Editing by Paul Tait, Clarence Fernandez and Kevin Liffey