Attacks in Kabul and northern Afghanistan kill more than 20

Shawki Allam

However, there has been no let up in the violence that has been killing and wounding more than 10,000 civilians a year - and many more combatants - with fighting continuing across large parts of the country and Kabul itself hit repeatedly by attacks.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at an worldwide conference in Kabul last week unveiled a plan to open talks with the Taliban, including eventually recognising them as a political party.

A spokesman for the Kabul police chief said the bomber was stopped at the checkpoint near the gathering when he detonated explosives.

The Pakistani Taliban has confirmed the death of the son of leader Mullah Fazlullah in a suspected USA drone strike on March 6.

"These people who do this are acting against humanity and against Islam", he said.

Russian Federation and Iran have established contacts with the Taliban in recent years because of the common threat posed by the Islamic State (IS) militant group in Afghanistan.

The Taliban said in a statement that 29 soldiers and police were killed in the attack, including four commanders.

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

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.

The Taliban also ambushed members of the local police who were sent to assist the soldiers, killing 10 policemen and wounding nine, provincial police spokesman Khali Aseir said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but Kabul has seen a spate of deadly attacks carried out by both the Taliban and Daesh (ISIL, also known as ISIS) terrorist group in recent months.

The report couldn't be independently confirmed because of the area's remoteness.

As per an account of the security officials, over two dozen militants were being trained in the camp as suicide bombers when it came under attack from the CIA-operated pilotless aircraft.

Information for this article was contributed by Maamoun Youssef and Kathy Gannon of The Associated Press. Another five officers were wounded in the gunbattle, he said.

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