KABUL: At least five people were killed and 16 wounded by a suicide car bomb at a busy roundabout near the entrance to Kabul's international airport on Monday, police said.

"Our initial information shows four people have been martyred in the suicide attack. We are trying to identify the victims," Kabul CID chief Fraidoon Obaidi told AFP.

He said 10 others were wounded while the Afghan health ministry put that figure at 15.

Obaidi confirmed that the explosion was caused by a suicide car bomb.

"The explosion occurred at the first checkpoint of Kabul airport," said deputy Kabul police chief Sayed Gul Agha Rouhani.

Smoke billowed from the scene of the explosion. An AFP photographer saw pieces of charred flesh strewn around the checkpoint, where passengers undergo the first round of body checks before entering the airport. Ambulances with wailing sirens rushed to the area and were seen removing bodies.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, which follows a wave of lethal bombings in the Afghan capital on Friday as the insurgency escalates after a bitter power transition within the Taliban.

Blasts in Afghanistan on Friday struck near an army complex, a police academy and a United States special forces base, killing at least 51 people.

They were the first major attacks since Mullah Akhtar Mansour was named as the new Taliban chief in an acrimonious power transition after the insurgents confirmed the death of longtime leader Mullah Omar.

Experts say insurgents are stepping up attacks as Mansour tries to distract attention from internal rifts over his leadership.

The wave of violence underscores Afghanistan's volatile security situation amid a faltering peace process.

The first face-to-face talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban took place last month in Murree, aimed at ending the 14-year insurgency, but the Taliban distanced themselves from a second round of talks that were scheduled for the end of July after the announcement of Omar's death.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani discussed initiating another round of talks in a telephone call Sunday to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, a senior official in Islamabad told AFP.

Also read: US urges Taliban to shun violence as death toll in Kabul attacks rises to 51

Flights cancelled

Pakistani flights to Kabul have been cancelled following the suicide attack near the Afghan capital's airport, Civil Aviation Authority sources told DawnNews. The sources did not say when flights to Kabul would resume.


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