Afghans are seen through the shattered glass of a transport bus damaged in Wednesday’s Kabul explosion. Photo: Rafiq Maqbool/Associated Press

KABUL—Taliban insurgents detonated a car bomb near the entrance to a police station in the Afghan capital on Wednesday, killing at least 14 people and wounding scores more, as peace talks aimed at ending the nearly 18-year war continued.

Besides those killed in the blast, which included four policemen, more than 143 people were wounded, said Sediq Sediqqi, spokesman for President Ashraf Ghani. The death toll was expected to rise.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, said his group carried out the bombing, which resounded throughout the Afghan capital, sent plumes of black and white smoke billowing into the midmorning sky and reduced the police compound to rubble. He said it was aimed at an army recruiting center.

Earlier this week, Zalmay Khalilzad, the chief U.S. negotiator to the talks aimed at ending the nearly 18-year Afghan war, said excellent progress had been made in Qatar’s capital, Doha. The Taliban also said the talks had gained ground.

The two sides are seeking agreement on a withdrawal of U.S. and other foreign forces from Afghanistan and security guarantees to prevent Islamist militant groups from launching terrorist attacks from Afghan soil.

The attack also coincided with stepped-up campaigning for next month’s presidential elections. The Taliban, in a statement Tuesday, vowed to disrupt the already twice-postponed elections, now scheduled for Sept. 28, and warned voters not to attend campaign events.

Write to Craig Nelson at

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