Kabul hit by wave of bombings

US has accused the Taliban of not upholding a pledge to reduce violence in Afghanistan

Afghan security personnel remove a damaged vehicle from the site of a bomb attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021. Three separate explosions in the capital Kabul on Saturday killed and wounded multiple people, an Afghan official said. (AP Photo)
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Three explosions rocked Kabul on Saturday morning, killing at least five people and injuring two more, authorities said, the latest in a series of attacks in the Afghan capital.

Police spokesman Ferdaws Faramarz said that three "sticky bomb" explosions had taken place in different locations between 8am and 10am local time.

Targeted killings by remotely detonated bombs attached to vehicles have long been a favoured tactic of militants in Afghanistan, especially during the morning commuter period in cities, where civilian deaths and casualties are high.

No group has claimed responsibility for Saturday's attacks, although Afghan and US officials have blamed the Taliban for similar incidents, a charge the group rejected.

Mr Faramarz said the first explosion had injured two civilians, while the second blast killed two soldiers and a woman.

The third bomb left two police officers dead.

The details were confirmed by the Afghan Ministry of Interior.

Security sources said at least two of the victims in the second explosion worked for the defence ministry, although the ministry would not confirm that.

Peace talks between the Taliban and Afghanistan's government that began in September are deadlocked.

The latest rise in violence has led US President Joe Biden's administration to launch a review of a deal signed between Washington and Taliban last year that paved the way for the withdrawal of all American troops in coming months.

Mr Biden is deciding whether to stick to a looming May 1 deadline to withdraw the remaining 2,500 US troops or risk a backlash from the insurgents by staying.

Gen Kenneth McKenzie, head of the US Army Central Command, on Thursday indicated that conditions have not been met for a withdrawal.

While the Taliban had pledged to reduce violence under their deal with the US, they have not done so, Gen McKenzie said during a flight to Pakistan.

"Certainly, ISIS has launched some attacks. It pales against what the Taliban is doing," Gen McKenzie said, denouncing violence against Afghan forces, and "targeted assassinations in some of the urban areas".

"This is clearly the Taliban," he said. "There is no way it's anyone else. That's very clear."

The Taliban denies being behind escalated violence, saying those responsible are other insurgent groups.