Turkish soldier killed in Kabul suicide attack

A suicide bomber driving a car packed with explosives targeted a Turkish Embassy vehicle in the Afghan capital during the Thursday morning rush hour, killing one Turkish soldier and wounding another.

The Turkish military said in a brief statement that the attack targeted a vehicle carrying a team tasked with protecting Ambassador Ismail Aramaz, the NATO Senior Civilian Representative in Afghanistan. It said one Turkish soldier was killed and another was wounded, without providing further details.

The blast took place outside the gate of the Iranian Embassy, which is adjacent to the Turkish mission in the center of Kabul.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the blast in a text message to media, saying the target was a "convoy of foreigners' vehicles."

Associated Press television footage showed two black armored vehicles bearing Turkish diplomatic plates and at least one wounded person being carried from a car.

It is the first known attack on a Turkish target in the Afghan capital. The last similar suicide car bomb attack in Kabul took place near the airport in January.

Insurgent attacks in the capital have been intermittent in recent months as winter has closed in, limiting access for militants who are believed to be based across the mountainous border in Pakistan.

The Afghan government hopes to open a dialogue with the Taliban's leadership in the near future, which could lead to peace talks in the coming year or two, officials and diplomats have said.

In the meantime, the insurgents are expected to intensify their attacks in order to enter any talks from a position of strength.