Kabul: The toll from a massive blast claimed by the Taliban in Kabul has risen to 16 dead -- all civilians -- with scores more wounded, an official said Tuesday.
Monday night's attack took place in a residential area near Green Village, a large compound that houses aid agencies, embassies and international organisations.
Interior ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said the blast was caused by a tractor packed with explosives that had been parked alongside a wall by Green Village.
"Sixteen killed, 119 wounded in last night's attack," Rahimi said, noting a search-and-rescue operation had lasted through the night.
Green Village is separate from the nearby Green Zone, a walled-off and heavily fortified part of Kabul that is home to several embassies including the US and British missions.
The Taliban claimed the attack, which came as US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad was in Kabul to discuss a proposed deal that would see the US withdraw troops from Afghanistan in return for insurgent security guarantees.
Residents in the area around Green Village were furious that their neighbourhood, which has been targeted before, had been hit once again and blamed the international presence.
Locals set tyres on fire, sending plumes of thick, acrid smoke into the morning sky, and closed off a main road alongside the scene of the attack.
"We want these foreigners to move out of our neighbourhood," local resident Abdul Jamil told AFP.
"This is not the first time we suffer because of them... We don't want them here anymore."
The attack came while Afghanistan's main TV station, Tolo News, aired an interview with the US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, who was discussing a potential deal with the Islamist extremist Taliban that would see the US withdraw forces from five bases across Afghanistan.
Gunfire could be heard in the aftermath of the blast along with a secondary explosion when a nearby petrol station caught fire, sending plumes of smoke into the night sky.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujadid said a coordinated attack with a suicide bomber and gunmen was under way.
Khalilzad, who has spent about a year negotiating with the Taliban, told Tolo the draw-down from US bases would occur within about four months of a final deal being approved -- provided the Taliban stick to their commitments.
The prospective deal centres on US troop reductions in return for several security guarantees from the Taliban, as well as broader peace talks between the insurgents and the Afghan government and an eventual ceasefire.
"We have agreed that if the conditions proceed according to the agreement, we will leave within 135 days five bases in which we are present now," the Afghan-born US envoy said in Dari.
But even as negotiations for an accord between the US and the Taliban have entered what is widely considered to be the final stages, violence has surged across Afghanistan.
On Saturday, the Taliban attempted to seize Kunduz in the north, and on Sunday, they launched an operation in the city of Pul-e Khumri, the capital of neighbouring Baghlan province.
Khalilzad was in Kabul following the latest round of talks with the Taliban in Doha, Qatar, after which he said the two sides were at the "threshold" of a deal.
He met Monday with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and showed him the draft of a proposed agreement.
Even if many of the 13,000 or so US troops in Afghanistan leave soon after a final deal, President Donald Trump last week said America would maintain a permanent presence -- with 8,600 troops initially.
Khalilzad's discussions with Ghani are key because the Afghan government has until now been largely sidelined from talks, though any eventual deal would require the Taliban to talk to the Afghan leader.
"The efforts of the US and other partners will yield results when the Taliban enters direct negotiations with the Afghan government," Ghani's spokesman Sediq Sediqqi told reporters.
Ghani has appointed a 15-member delegation to meet with the Taliban at "intra-Afghan" talks slated to take place in Norway in the coming weeks.