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New Year’s Day bombing in Afghan capital kills 1, wounds 11

The vehicle bombing of Kabul’s only surviving French restaurant, Le Jardin, on New Year’s Day will deter the few souls still fearless enough to venture out for dinner in the Afghan capital.

The attacks have coincided with renewed efforts to revive a peace process with the Taliban that broke down in July after news came out that the movement’s leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar, had died two years earlier.

President Ashraf Ghani on Thursday announced a first round of dialogue between Afghanistan, Pakistan, US and China on January 11 to lay out a comprehensive roadmap for peace.

The Taliban have stepped up their attacks against the Afghan security forces across the country throughout a year ago, following the withdrawal of foreign combat forces.

The official Twitter account of Kabul’s Emergency Hospital, a hospital run by an Italian NGO (non-governmental organization), reported a 12-year-old boy was dead upon arrival to the hospital following the attack.

Observers say the intensifying insurgency highlights a push by the militants to seize more territory in a bid to wrangle greater concessions during talks.

In a similar attack, at least six USA military personnel were killed and several others wounded late December after a suicide bomber targeted the troops on foot patrol near Bagram, the biggest US air base in Afghanistan.

Le Jardin restaurant, where the attack occurred, is popular among the city’s expatriate community and aid workers, besides Afghan officials.

The explosion from the blast was so loud that it shattered a number of windows in the neighbourhood.

“My house shook to the foundation and I live three streets away”, Ms Kumar said.

“Those who are targeting innocent civilians have no place in peace talks with the Afghan people and government”, he said. “There will be no tolerance for terrorism”.

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