Two separate suicide bombings in Afghanistan, targeting a military base and a provincial chief, have killed at least 34 people, officials have said.
It is believed 31 soldiers were killed, with 24 others wounded, when a military vehicle full of explosives was driven onto an army commando base and detonated, according to an official in Afghanistan’s national security council.
A provincial health department chief confirmed the death toll and casualty figures from the attack, which happened in the eastern Ghazni province.
An Interior Ministry spokesman said a suicide bombing had taken place, although he did not add further details.
In southern Afghanistan, another suicide car bomber targeted the convoy of a provincial council chief in Zubal.
It is thought at least three people were killed with 12 others wounded, including children.
The chief survived the attack with minor injuries, although a bodyguard was among those killed, a provincial police spokesman said.
There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the attacks.
The bombings come as the Afghan government and the Taliban hold face-to-face talks in Qatar for the first time, in an attempt to bring to an end the country’s decades-long war.
And this year has seen a sharp increase in violence, with a surge of attacks by the Taliban against Afghanistan’s security forces since the peace talks started in September.
There have also been deadly attacks claimed by so-called Islamic State militants in Afghanistan, including one on Kabul University that killed 22 people.
The US plans to withdraw roughly 2,500 troops from Afghanistan before the middle of January, leaving around 2,000 soldiers in the country as part of the US’ longest war.
Afghan officials, however, have expressed concern that a rapid reduction in American troops could strengthen the Taliban's negotiating position.
The US has recently been pressing for a reduction in violence while the Afghan government has been demanding a ceasefire.
The Taliban has refused, however, saying a ceasefire will be part of negotiations, though the group has held its promise not to attack US and NATO troops.
Cover image: Afghan flag flies over an observation post, Pekha Valley, Achin District, Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan (Picture: US Army).