Two people were killed and 15 injured when a suicide car bomb blast struck a Kabul restaurant popular with foreigners and Afghan officials.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the blast which struck outside Le Jardin French restaurant in a central district of the Afghan capital.
#AFG security at Le Jardin always tight & professional. But impossible to stop car bomb. Was there frequently over last few weeks.— Bilal Sarwary (@bsarwary) January 1, 2016
The two dead were Afghans, with one of them a 12 year old boy, according to a hospital in the city.
Le Jardin is popular with the city’s dwindling expat community of diplomats and aid workers as well as Afghan officials and government workers. Its rose garden, French food and relatively tight security have remained a draw for guests even as increasing danger from attack has forced other restaurants to close.
A 2014 attack on a Lebanese restaurant also popular with foreigners killed 21 people when a suicide bomber detonated at the front door and gunmen then opened fire at diners.
Le Jardin also serves a guest house, though with few rooms, but I don't believe anyone was staying there. #Kabul— Bethany E. Matta (@BethanyMatta) January 1, 2016
"We can confirm a suicide car bomb attack on Le Jardin," Fraidoon Obaidi, the head of Kabul's Criminal Investigation Department, told the AFP news agency.
The blast at around 5pm local time (12.30pm GMT) on Friday, came days after Pakistan's army chief, Gen Raheel Sharif visited Afghanistan’s capital to try to prepare the ground for fresh peace talks with the resurgent Taliban.
I have fond memories of Le Jardin, a haven in Kabul. Security had tightened significantly there since the Taverna attack. Hope everyone OK.— Margherita Stancati (@margheritamvs) January 1, 2016
Both sides agreed to hold a first round of dialogue between Afghanistan, Pakistan, US and China on January 11 to lay out a comprehensive roadmap for peace, officials in Kabul said.
Pakistan hosted a milestone first round of talks in July but the negotiations stalled when the insurgents belatedly confirmed the death of longtime leader Mullah Omar.
Afghanistan sees the support of Pakistan as vital to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table.
Oh no. And old favourite. French restaurant popular with ex pats targeted in huge bomb blast in central Kabul https://t.co/1I4n5DHGEP— Quentin Sommerville (@sommervillebbc) January 1, 2016