The Taliban took credit for a car bomb that killed a United States service member, despite the fact that the group is still engaged in ongoing peace talks with U.S. and NATO forces.
Multiple outlets reported Thursday that the blast took place near the American Embassy in Kabul and is the second major attack the Taliban has taken credit for this week. The group also claimed responsibility for a Monday suicide bombing that killed 16 and wounded over 100 at an international compound in Kabul. They later claimed credit for a bombing outside an Afghan military base that killed four, according to local officials.
In addition to the American service member, Thursday's explosion also killed a Romanian military member and at least 10 Afghan civilians. An Afghan official told the Associated Press that at least 42 were wounded and 12 cars were destroyed in the attack as well.
Neither service members' identity has been released yet.
Video of the attack can be found here:
"I strongly condemn today's horrific Taliban attack in downtown Kabul," U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan John Bass said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the members of security forces and others killed today. It is far past time for these senseless attacks to end."
"I condemn Taliban's continuing violence, which does nothing to advance peace," senior NATO official Nicholas Kay tweeted. "#NATO stands firm with Afghan people and their forces."
This all comes after it was announced the United States and the Taliban have been engaged in talks to bring an end to the former's almost 18-year-old military campaign in the country. Before Monday's bombing, the United States special envoy to Afghanistan said that the talks had yielded an agreement "in principle, but of course until the U.S. president agrees with it, it isn't final."
Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani responded to Thursday's attack with skepticism of the ongoing peace process, saying, "Peace with a group that is still killing innocent people is meaningless." Ghani's government has been left out of the peace talks, which have been going on for months now.
Time reported Wednesday that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had declined to sign the supposed agreement, which lacks several important components.
After publication of the Time story, a State Department spokesperson told the magazine, "There is no agreement to sign yet. If and when there is an agreement that is approved by all parties, including President Trump and if the Secretary is the appropriate signatory, he will sign it."