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Isis claims responsibility for mortar strikes on Afghan's capital

MORTAR shells slammed into a residential area of Afghanistan’s capital on Saturday, killing eight and wounding at least 30 others in an attack claimed by Islamic State (Isis) militants.

The local Isis affiliate issued a statement claiming responsibility for the attack that targeted the so-called green zone in Kabul, which houses foreign embassies, the presidential palace and Afghan military compounds.

The assault came as peace talks were under way in Qatar, where outgoing US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Afghan government negotiators that the US will “sit on the side and help where we can” in the negotiations with Taliban militants.

For most Afghans, the overriding concern for the peace talks has been a sharp rise in violence this year and a surge of attacks by the Taliban against Afghanistan’s security forces since the start of negotiations in September.

The announcement this week that the United States will accelerate its planned troop withdrawal has lent greater urgency to the intra-Afghan negotiations and to calls for a reduction in violence.

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