KABUL, Afghanistan — Mortar shells slammed into a residential area of Afghanistan’s capital and killed eight people Saturday, hours before outgoing U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held what are likely his last meetings with the Taliban and Afghan government negotiators trying to hammer out a peace deal.
The attack in Kabul, claimed by Islamic State militants, also wounded 31 people.
The assault came as peace talks were underway in Qatar, where Pompeo told Afghan government negotiators that the U.S. will “sit on the side and help where we can” in the negotiations with Taliban militants. Meanwhile, the U.S. military announced a sudden visit to the Mideast by long-range, nuclear-capable B-52H bombers, underlining America’s continuing presence in the region.
Two Taliban officials told The Associated Press that the warring sides have found common ground on which to move forward the stalled talks. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to journalists,