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Bomb kills three in Afghan capital

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An Afghan journalist-turned spokesman for the country’s public protection force was killed along with two colleagues Sunday by a bomb targeting their vehicle, officials said.

The murder of Zia Wadan, who previously worked for several media networks, appeared to be the latest in a series of targeted killings that have rocked Afghanistan, especially Kabul.

Wadan and his colleagues were killed in morning rush-hour traffic in an eastern part of the capital, interior ministry spokesman Tariq Arian told reporters.

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“A vehicle carrying Zia Wadan was targeted with an IED… as a result, Wadan and two of his colleagues were killed,” Arian said, adding that another person was wounded. 

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but President Ashraf Ghani blamed it on the Taliban.

“The spike in violence by the Taliban is against (the) spirit of committment for peace and indicates the group still pursues their hawkish attitude to take innocent lives and damage public facilities,” the presidential palace said on Twitter, quoting Ghani.

Wadan was spokesman for the National Public Protection Force (NPPF), a security service under the interior ministry that deploys guards to international organisations across Afghanistan. 

Violence has surged across the country in recent months, and a new trend of targeted killings has sowed fear, especially in Kabul.

High-profile figures including journalists, politicians and rights activists have increasingly been targeted despite peace talks between the government and Taliban.

Since November, five journalists, a deputy governor of Kabul and a prominent election activist have been among those murdered in targeted killings.

Last week the US military blamed the Taliban for these largely unclaimed targeted killings, the first time Washington has directly accused the insurgent group of the murders.

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