KABUL, Afghanistan, The Taliban didn’t wait long into to the new year for their first attack, launching a suicide bombing at a French restaurant in Kabul, before other fighters had a shootout with police.
The car bombing near Le Jardin killed two and injured 15, and was the second bombing in Kabul took credit for this week after a car bomb killed one person near the city’s airport on December 28.
A spokesman for the Afghan Interior Ministry said police arrested one suspect after the bombing, according to the Washington Post. Gunfire was reported by residents and witnesses in the area, and is believed to have been a gunfight the Taliban announced on Twitter.
“Reports suggest that a heavy fight is still ongoing, the devoted Mujahedeen will continue its struggle to target invaders and their mercenaries,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid posted on Twitter, according to the New York Times.
The Taliban has attacked similar restaurants before, which is why Le Jardin is heavily guarded, has metal doors, and there are several security checks to get in,according to the BBC.
As talks between Afghanistan and Pakistan have worked to negotiate peace with the Taliban in the last year, the former ruling power in Afghanistan has ramped up attacks at restaurants and other public locations. The United States, China, Afghanistan and Pakistan are scheduled to start peace talks in Islamabad on January 11, according to Xinhua.