United States announces $5M reward for information on Pak Taliban leader

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Earlier in the day, a suicide bomber blew himself up when he was stopped at a Security Checkpoint in Mosalla-e Mazar area in Kabul, killing at least seven persons including one policeman and injuring 15 other civilians.

The attack seems to have been directed against the people gathered to pay tribute to Abdul Ali Mazari, a political leader of the Shiite minority of the Hizarreans killed by the Taliban in 1995, a deputy interior minister spokesman said.

Since mid-January, militants have stormed a luxury hotel, bombed a crowded street, raided a military compound and launched a suicide attack during morning rush hour in the capital, killing more than 130 people.

Local Hazara leader Mohammad Mohaqiq told the Kabul gathering the explosion was an attempt to terrorize Afghans.

The US State Department placed a $5 million reward for help locating the leader of the Pakistani Taliban on Thursday, linked to bloody attacks in Pakistan and the 2010 attempted Times Square auto bombing in NY.

The bombing in southwest Kabul was claimed by the Islamic State.

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The spokesman for the Health Ministry, Wahid Majro, said several of the wounded were in critical condition and feared the death toll could rise further.

At the huddle, representatives from more than 25 states and global entities endorsed the call for intra-Afghan direct talks to commence without pre-conditions. They had been hiding in the mountainous region of Afghanistan and planned to use it as a base from which to carry out attacks in Pakistan, the officials said.

Friday's attack came less than two weeks after President Ashraf Ghani called on the Taliban to join peace talks in a country which has been at war for decades.

The Taliban's argument that they will not talk to the Afghan government because the conflict is not between Afghan parties misrepresents the reality that tens of thousands of Afghan people are killed and maimed every year in direct confrontations between the Taliban and the government forces, he said.

Fazlullah and his Taliban militants are part of ongoing frustration from the US and Kabul toward Pakistan's efforts to combat insurgents.

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