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Afghan officials: Kabul bomb targets VP, kills 2 civilians

KABUL — A bombing in the Afghan capital on Wednesday killed at least two civilians and wounded several others in an attack that targeted the country’s first vice-president, who was unharmed, officials said.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing and the Taliban quickly denied they were behind the attack.

According to spokesman Razwan Murad, the bombing targeted the convoy of Afghanistan’s first vice-president, Amrullah Saleh, as it passed through Kabul on Wednesday morning.

Saleh, who is also Afghanistan’s former intelligence chief, said in his first television appearance immediately after the attack that he was fine and had suffered only slight burns. He appeared in the TV footage with bandages on one hand.

“This vicious terrorist attempt has failed and Saleh survived today’s bombing in Kabul,” Murad added. The spokesman did not offer more details. The roads in the vicinity of the bombing were closed off.

The Interior Ministry spokesman Tariq Arian confirmed to The Associated Press that the bombing targeted Saleh’s convoy.

Arian said only that at least two civilians died in the blast and that several others were wounded. The explosion, he said, also ignited a huge fire in the area, a section of Kabul where shops sell gas cylinders for use in heating homes and cooking.

He feared the casualty figures could rise further.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed was quick to deny the insurgents were involved in any way, saying that “today’s explosion in Kabul has nothing to do with the Mujahedeen of the Islamic Emirate,” as the Taliban call themselves.

Both the insurgents and the Islamic State group are active in Kabul where tensions are also high ahead of the expected start of negotiations between an official Afghan delegation and the Taliban.

Rahim Faiez, The Associated Press

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