Suicide bombing hits restaurant in Afghan capital Kabul

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Gunfire Heard After Blast Targets Kabul Restaurant

KABUL (Reuters) -- A suicide attack on a French restaurant in the Afghan capital Kabul on Friday killed a 12-year-old boy and wounded more than a dozen other people, officials said.

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The latest in a series of suicide bombings in Kabul targeted "Le Jardin," one of a small number of restaurants in the city still frequented by foreigners.

The medical aid group Emergency said 15 people had been referred for treatment to the hospital that it runs nearby, and that a 12-year-old boy had been dead on arrival.

The incident came almost two years after a suicide attack on a Lebanese restaurant in the city killed 21 people, including 13 expatriates, and prompted many foreign organizations to withdraw staff or place tight restrictions on their movements.

In the hours after the explosion, large numbers of police and security force personnel blocked off the site, parts of which were on fire.

During a search of the surrounding areas, one suspect was arrested, an Interior Ministry spokesman said.

Earlier this week, one civilian was killed and 33 were wounded in an attack claimed by the Taliban in an area close to Kabul airport. Last week, six U.S soldiers were killed as they patrolled near Bagram air base outside Kabul and, last month, suicide attackers struck a Spanish embassy guesthouse in the capital.

The attacks have coincided with renewed efforts to revive a peace process with the Taliban that broke down in July after news came out that the movement's leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar, had died two years earlier.

Officials from Afghanistan, Pakistan, the United States and China are due to meet in Pakistan on Jan. 11 for a meeting aimed at laying the groundwork for talks with the insurgents.

However the Taliban, which is struggling to contain bloody factional fighting over the leadership succession, has so far refused to take part while foreign forces remain in Afghanistan.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who said this week that terrorism had to end for the talks to succeed, condemned the latest attack.

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