At Least 12 Dead in Taliban Blast in Afghan City

In this Oct. 31, 2018, photo, Afghan National Army soldiers carry out an exercise during a live firing at the Afghan Military Academy in Kabul, Afghanistan. Afghan officials say around 100 soldiers fled their posts and tried to cross into neighboring Turkmenistan during a weeklong battle with the Taliban, in the latest setback for the country's battered security forces. Mohammad Naser Nazari, a provincial council member in the western Badghis province, said Sunday, March 17, 2019, that the soldiers were not
In this Oct. 31, 2018, photo, Afghan National Army soldiers carry out an exercise during a live firing at the Afghan Military Academy in Kabul, Afghanistan. Afghan officials say around 100 soldiers fled their posts and tried to cross into neighboring Turkmenistan during a weeklong battle with the Taliban, in the latest setback for the country's battered security forces. Mohammad Naser Nazari, a provincial council member in the western Badghis province, said Sunday, March 17, 2019, that the soldiers were not allowed to cross the border and their fate remains unknown. (Rahmat Gul, AP Photo File)

A Taliban car bomb in eastern Afghanistan killed at least 12 people and wounded scores more Sunday, officials said, in a massive blast that came amid ongoing peace talks in Qatar.

The Taliban are meeting with U.S. negotiators and Afghan representatives in Doha as the U.S. pushes to end its 18-year involvement in Afghanistan, but violence from the insurgents and the U.S. military has continued apace.

Sunday's suicide car bomb attack hit the eastern city of Ghazni and targeted an intelligence unit, Ghazni provincial governor spokesman Aref Noori told AFP.

Wahidullah Mayar, a health ministry spokesman, said 12 people had been killed.

Additionally, "179 people, mostly civilians including children, were wounded", he added.

The number of wounded jumped up from an earlier toll of 70 and suggests a massive explosion.

The Taliban claimed the attack in a WhatsApp message.

The seventh round of Taliban-U.S. talks is aimed at forging a deal that would see the U.S. military quit Afghanistan in return for various guarantees.

Both sides have reported substantial progress in the talks, which are paused Sunday and Monday while the Taliban meet with Afghan representatives for a so-called intra-Afghan dialogue.

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