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Deadly blasts hit Afghanistan ahead of peace talks

At least nine people have been killed in a suicide bombing in front of Afghanistan's Defense Ministry. The attack occurred after another suicide bombing killed at least 13 in the eastern province of Kunar.

A suicide bomber wearing an explosive vest blew himself up in front of the Defense Ministry in Kabul on Saturday, killing at least nine and wounding 13, police said.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

The bombing was the

second on Saturday.

In eastern Afghanistan, at least 13 people were killed and more than 40 wounded when an assailant targeted a local tribal leader in a market in Asadabad, in Kunar province.

While no group claimed responsibility for the bombing, the target, Haji Khan Jan, had once led a local uprising against

Taliban insurgents.

The method of the attack would be in line with previous Taliban violence.

Kunar shares a long stretch of border with neighboring Pakistan, forming an international region where the Taliban still holds varying degrees of power.

The incidents come just one week ahead of a renewed push by the US, China, and Pakistan to bring the Taliban and Afghan government to the negotiating table to end

the 14-year bloody conflict.

Peace talks were interrupted last summer when the Taliban announced its leader Mullah Omar had died in 2013.

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cw/jlw (AFP, dpa)

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