17 people including ten policemen killed in Takhar, Kabul

Iran’s Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami in a meeting with Ahmad Tamim Asi Afghanistan’s deputy defense minister for policy and strategy in Tehran

However, there has been no let up in the violence that has been killing and wounding more than 10,000 civilians a year - and many more combatants - with fighting continuing across large parts of the country and Kabul itself hit repeatedly by attacks.

"The recent Taliban letter to the people of the United States, I believe, misses the point".

The attacker set off his explosives before passing through a police screening post, suggesting that he may have triggered the bomb after a policeman spotted it. Rahim said three policemen were killed. One policeman was among the dead.

Shortly after the attack, Ghani issued a statement condemning the bombing and promising that those behind it, if found and convicted, would be given the death penalty. Ghani had said the Afghan government will provide facilities and security for those Taliban who join the peace process.

Speaking at the US Institute of Peace, a Congress-supported think-tank, she said: "The Taliban were at war with the Afghan people long before US military operations began in 2001".

The event was attended by some of the country's top politicians, including Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah and his deputy Mohammad Mohaqiq, a senior Hazara figure.

The spokesperson for the Health Ministry, Wahid Majro, said several of the wounded were in critical condition and he feared the death toll could rise further.

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"We were inside the mosque when a loud explosion took place".

Members of the local police who were sent to assist the soldiers were ambushed by the Taliban while on their way to the outpost in the remote district of Khwaja Ghar.

The bomber appeared to have meant to attack a crowd gathered to mark the anniversary of the killing of Hazara political leader Abdul Ali Mazari by the Taliban in 1995, but he was stopped before reaching the main gathering.

The report couldn't be independently confirmed because of the remoteness of the area.

Information for this article was contributed by Maamoun Youssef and Kathy Gannon of The Associated Press.

Mujahid also claimed responsibility for that attack.

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