At least 16 people died in a large explosion in Afghanistan capital Kabul late on Monday, AFP quoted interior ministry spokesperson Nasrat Rahimi as saying. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the blast, which came even as United States envoy Zalmay Khalilzad briefed the Afghan government on its deal to remove troops from the country.

Gunfire was heard in the aftermath of the blast. While initial reports said at least 50 people were injured, the number has gone up, according to reports. The explosion was the third attack in the country in as many days.

Afghanistan has witnessed several terror attacks in the past few months amid US peace talks with the Taliban. The terror group wants all American and NATO troops to leave the country and is at its strongest now since the US took control over large parts of the country following the 9/11 attack, The Guardian reported. The draft deal with the US has not yet been approved by President Donald Trump, who has been keen on removing troops from the country before the 2020 US elections. There are currently between 13,000 to 14,000 troops in Afghanistan.

According to the United Nations, more than 1,500 civilians were killed or wounded in the Afghan conflict in July alone. This is the highest monthly toll so far in 2019 and the worst single month since May 2017.

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