A roadside bomb in Kabul targeted at Afghan Vice President Amrullah Saleh has left 10 people dead but he escaped unhurt.
According to the ministry of interior, 31 people were injured including several of the vice president’s bodyguards.
The Vice President, in a video, confirmed he sustained a minor burn on his face and an injury to his hand.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack and the Taliban quickly denied they were behind the bombing as they had pledged not to launch attacks in urban areas under a deal with the United States.
Amrullah Saleh, a former intelligence chief, and an outspoken Taliban critic has survived several assassination attempts, including one on his office last year ahead of presidential elections that killed 20 people.
Afghan’s Interior ministry spokesman Arian said the blast 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.
Officials and diplomats have warned that rising violence is sapping the trust needed for the success of talks aimed at ending an armed conflict that began when the Taliban was removed from power in a US-led invasion in late 2001.
Washington has been ramping up pressure on both sides to get the talks underway.
The negotiations, known as intra-Afghan talks, were envisaged as part of the peace deal the U.S signed with the Taliban in Qatar in February to end the country’s longest war.
The US-Taliban deal allows for the withdrawal of American soldiers from Afghanistan.
However, US troop pullout, which has already begun, does not hinge on the success of intra-Afghan talks but rather on commitments from the Taliban to fight against other armed groups – such as ISIL (or ISIS) – and to prevent Afghanistan from being a staging arena for attacks against the US and its allies.