Wed, 11 Dec 2019

At least 12 people were killed and 20 others wounded when a car bomb detonated during the morning rush hour in the Afghan capital, officials said.

The November 13 bombing targeted a private security company's convoy in the Qasaba area in Kabul's police District 15.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the blast, which came a day after the Afghan government released three key Taliban prisoners in exchange for two Western hostages.

Both the Taliban and the Islamic State militant group are active in Kabul.

The Interior Ministry said the dead were civilians and included three children.

/**/ /**/ SEE ALSO: Afghan Government Releases Militants In Apparent Exchange For American, Australian Captives

One of them was a 13-year-old child heading to school, Interior Minister Massoud Andarabi said.

'The enemies of our people should know that our people are determined for peace. Nothing can stop them from achieving peace,' Andarabi said.

Four foreign staff of the private Canadian security company GardaWorld were among those wounded, said Marwa Amini, an Interior Ministry spokesman.

Their nationalities were not given.

On November 12, President Ashraf Ghani said three high-ranking Taliban prisoners were released in exchange for two professors of the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul -- an American and an Australian -- who were kidnapped by the militants in 2016.

Ghani did not specify the fate of the Western hostages and it was not clear when or where they would be freed.

Those released included Anas Haqqani, the younger brother of Sirajjuddin Haqqani, the leader of the Haqqani network, officials said.

Neither the Taliban nor the Haqqani network, which is part of the militant group, have commented so far on the prisoner swap.

Some analysts had hoped the prisoner release could pave the way for peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government. The militant group has so far refused to talk to the Afghan government, which it says is a U.S. puppet.

With reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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