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Taleban suicide attack targets French restaurant in Kabul

[KABUL] A Taleban suicide car bomber hit a French restaurant popular with foreigners in Kabul on Friday, in a New Year’s day attack that marks the latest in a series of brazen insurgent assaults. 

 At least four people were wounded in the attack on Le Jardin, an Afghan-owned eatery, which caused a piercingly loud explosion and left a building engulfed in flames.

The restaurant is popular with foreigners in Kabul.

The incident came just days after Pakistan's powerful army chief General Raheel Sharif visited Kabul to try to prepare the ground for fresh peace talks with the resurgent Taleban.

Both sides agreed to hold a first round of dialogue between Afghanistan, Pakistan, US and China on January 11 to lay out a comprehensive roadmap for peace, officials in Kabul said.

Pakistan - the Taleban's historic backers - hosted a milestone first round of talks in July but the negotiations stalled when the insurgents belatedly confirmed the death of longtime leader Mullah Omar.

Afghanistan sees the support of Pakistan as vital to bring the Taleban to the negotiating table.

But despite the growing bonhomie with Islamabad, analysts caution that any substantive talks are still a long way off.