Afghan policemen stand guard at the site of a suicide bomb attack in Kabul, Afghanistan January 10, 2017. Picture: REUTERS/OMAR SOBHANI
Afghan policemen stand guard at the site of a suicide bomb attack in Kabul, Afghanistan January 10, 2017. Picture: REUTERS/OMAR SOBHANI

Kabul — At least 23 people were killed and more than 20 wounded on Tuesday in a suicide bomb attack near the offices of the Afghan parliament in Kabul, said Saleem Rasouli, a senior health official.

The attack was claimed by the Afghan Taliban, fighting to overthrow the Western-backed government and drive foreign soldiers from the country.

Early reports said a suicide bomber blew himself up near the parliament offices, followed immediately by a car bomber in an apparently co-ordinated operation.

The attack shattered a relative lull in violence in the capital.

"The first explosion happened outside the parliament … a number of innocent workers were killed and wounded. It was caused by a suicide bomber on foot," Zabi, an injured parliament security guard, told AFP.

"The second one was a car bomb. It was parked on the other side of the road and flung me back when it detonated," he said.

The Taliban are pressing ahead with nationwide attacks despite the onset of winter, when fighting usually ebbs, even as international efforts intensify to jump-start peace talks.

Repeated bids to launch peace negotiations with the Taliban have failed, with a fierce new fighting season expected to kick off in the spring.

The bombings underline concern about growing insecurity in Afghanistan, where about 10,000 US troops are assisting struggling Afghan forces to combat a resilient Taliban insurgency along with al-Qaeda and Islamic State militants.

Afghanistan got scarcely a passing mention in the bitterly contested US presidential election — even though the situation in the conflict-torn country will be an urgent matter for the new president.

President-elect Donald Trump has given few details on his expected foreign policy, with even fewer specifics on how he will tackle the war in Afghanistan.

Reuters and AFP

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