A large explosion has rocked the Afghan capital, targeting an area home to several international organisations and guesthouses, officials said.

The blast came hours after a US envoy briefed the Afghan government on plans for the first 5,000 American troops to leave Afghanistan within five months under a deal with the Taliban which has been reached “in principle” but still needs President Donald Trump’s approval.

Interior Ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahmi confirmed that the Green Village compound was the target of the blast, which sent a plume of smoke into the night sky over Kabul.

Another interior ministry official, Bahar Maher, told the local TOLO news channel that the blast was caused by a car bomb. There was no immediate word of casualties.

The Green Village has been a frequent target of attacks. Many foreigners live in the compound, which is heavily guarded by Afghan forces and private security guards.

The compound was also targeted by a suicide car bomber in January who killed at least four people and wounded scores. That blast also occurred when US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad was visiting the capital to brief the Afghan government on his negotiations with the Taliban on ending America’s longest war.

Earlier on Monday, Mr Khalilzad had showed the draft US-Taliban to the Afghan president after declaring they were “at the threshold of an agreement”.

Mr Khalilzad has twice met President Ashraf Ghani after arriving on Sunday evening from Qatar, where the ninth round of US-Taliban talks ended.

However, reflecting the sensitivity of the negotiations and the Afghan government’s sidelined role in the talks so far, it was not clear whether Mr Ghani was given the draft to keep.

“We have reached an agreement with the Taliban in principle but of course until the US president agrees with it, it isn’t final,” Mr Khalilzad told the local TOLO news channel.

He said that under the deal, the first 5,000 US troops would withdraw within 135 days from five bases in Afghanistan. Between 14,000 and 13,000 troops are in the country.

Mr Trump last week said the US plans to reduce its troop presence to 8,600 and then “make a determination from there”. He has been eager to withdraw troops before next year’s election and the draft deal easily meets that deadline.

The reduction would bring troop levels down to roughly where they were when he took office in January 2017.

A further troop withdrawal is expected to depend on the Taliban meeting conditions of the deal, including a reduction in violence.


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