Kabul, Jan 20: A powerful suicide car bomb struck near the Russian embassy in downtown Kabul on Wednesday, with over 12 dead according to latest reports, from the latest attack in the Afghan capital, the interior ministry said.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing, which comes just two days after a second round of international talks aimed at reviving Taliban peace talks.
"The attack happened near the Russian embassy," ministry spokesman Najib Danish told AFP. "We fear casualties from the bombing," he added, though he could not confirm if the embassy was the intended target.
The loud explosion sent a plume of smoke rising in the sky, with ambulances and firefighters rushing to the scene. Delegates from Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the US convened in the Afghan capital on Monday for a one-day meeting seeking a negotiated end to the 14-year Taliban insurgency.
The first round of the so-called "roadmap" talks was held in Islamabad last week as the four nations try to lay the groundwork for direct dialogue between Kabul and the Islamist group.
Taliban representatives were notably absent in both rounds and analysts caution that any substantive talks are still a long way off.
The Taliban has stepped up attacks on government and foreign targets in Afghanistan this winter, when fighting usually abates, underscoring a worsening security situation.