A roadside bomb in Kabul targeted Afghan First Vice President Amrullah Saleh on Wednesday morning, his spokesman said, but he escaped the attack unharmed.
Interior Ministry spokesman Tariq Arian told AFP that, based on initial reports, two people had been killed and another 12 wounded in the blast.
“Today, once again the enemy of Afghanistan tried to harm Saleh, but they failed to get to their evil aim, and Saleh escaped the attack unharmed,” Razwan Murad, a spokesman for Saleh’s office, wrote on Facebook.
He told Reuters the bomb targeted Saleh’s convoy and some of his bodyguards were injured.
Health ministry officials said two bodies and seven injured people had been transported to the hospital so far.
Naseer Rahin, a freelance journalist in Kabul, told Al Jazeera there was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombing, which comes just before long-awaited peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban in Qatar’s capital, Doha.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed was quick to deny the rebels were involved in any way, saying that “today’s explosion in Kabul has nothing to do with the Mujahedeen of the Islamic Emirate”, as the Taliban call themselves.
In remarks made after the attack, Rahin reported that Saleh said Afghans will never deal on their values and not compromise.
Saleh, a former intelligence chief, has survived several assassination attempts, including one on his office last year that killed 20 people.
Officials and diplomats have warned that rising violence is sapping the trust needed for the success of talks aimed at ending an armed conflict that began when the Taliban was removed from power in a US-led invasion in late 2001.
Al Jazeera and news agencies