Kabul Bombing Kills at Least 40 as Taliban Talks Resume

Kabul Bombing Kills at Least 40 as Taliban Talks Resume

KABUL, Afghanistan — A complex attack including a car-bombing and militant assault killed at least 40 people in Kabul on Monday, badly damaging a private war museum and adjoining television station, officials said.

The attack came as American and Taliban negotiators were to meet for a second day in Qatar amid hopes for a deal on an American troop withdrawal. But the pace of violence in the 18-year Afghan war has only picked up, with each side increasing attacks.

A senior Kabul defense official put the death toll at six security force members, with another 20 of them wounded, and 34 civilians, with at least 63 civilians wounded. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information. There were reports that children were among the victims, but it was unclear whether they had been visiting the museum, or were hurt in a nearby school that collapsed from the force of the explosion, which was heard throughout Kabul.

Officials said that attackers were still holed up in a nearby ministry of defense building that they had run to after the bomb explosions.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, according to a Twitter message on the account of the Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, and said that a logistics and engineering unit of the ministry of defense was the intended target.

“According to some reports, some civilians slightly have been wounded,” the spokesman said. “But civilians were not the target.”

Nasrat Rahimi, the spokesman for the interior ministry, said that a car bomb detonated near the museum and television complex, after which attackers entered a defense ministry building, where they were fighting with security forces who had surrounded them.

There were unconfirmed reports that journalists were among the victims, as well as reports that the actual target was a government facility nearby. The Taliban have recently threatened Afghan journalists; in a statement a week ago that drew widespread condemnation, the insurgents said journalists who did not stop publishing what they considered anti-Taliban propaganda would be considered legitimate targets.

But Abid Ihsas, the news manager for Shamshad TV, said the station had been forced off the air by the blast but resumed broadcasting within 13 minutes.

At the museum, the largely outdoor exhibit houses British rifles, American cluster bomblets, Italian and Egyptian land mines, rusted artillery pieces, and dilapidated Soviet jet fighters in a cement-walled compound ringed by sandbags, barbed wire and a machine gun-mounted guard tower.

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