Bomb strikes Afghan capital near where talks among elders will be held on U.S. troop deal


Afghan President Hamid Karzai, right, arrives at a press conference at the presidential palace in Kabul, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013. Karzai said Afghan and U.S. negotiators have worked out a final draft of a contentious security pact to be presented to a traditional gathering next week. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)


KABUL, Afghanistan — An Afghan defense ministry official says a powerful car bomb has struck the western edge of the capital, Kabul, near the site of next week’s meeting of elders to discuss a controversial security agreement with the United States.

Gen. Mohammed Zahir Azimi says the target of today’s bomb was an Afghan National Army armored vehicle. He says one soldier was killed in a blast that left the area in ruins. Eyewitnesses say they saw several bodies in the area.

The explosion came just hours after President Hamid Karzai announced the final draft of the agreement had been completed.

The soldiers were providing security at the site of next week’s Loya Jirga, or grand council, convened by Karzai to debate an agreement which would allow U.S. troops to remain in Afghanistan after the final withdrawal of international combat troops at the end of 2014.