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ISIS attack hits Afghan capital killing eight

Mortars slammed into a residential area of the Afghan capital, killing eight people, hours before outgoing US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held what are likely his last meetings with the Taliban and Afghan government negotiators trying to hammer out a peace deal.

Relatives carry the dead body of a boy who was killed by a mortar shell attack in Kabul, Afghanistan. Source: Associated Press

The attack in Kabul, which was blamed on Islamic State militants, also injured 31 people.

The assault came as peace talks were underway in Qatar, where Pompeo told Afghan government negotiators that the US will "sit on the side and help where we can" in the negotiations with Taliban militants.

Two Taliban officials told The Associated Press that the two warring sides have found common ground on which to move forward the stalled talks. 

In Kabul, at least one of the 23 mortar shells fired from two cars hit inside the Iranian Embassy compound. No one was injured, but it damaged the main building, the Iranian Embassy said in a tweet. At least 31 people were hurt elsewhere in the city, according to the Afghan Interior Ministry.

The local Islamic State affiliate issued a statement claiming the attack that targeted the so-called Green Zone in Kabul which houses foreign embassies, the presidential palace and Afghan military compounds, according to SITE Intelligence Group.

Violence in Afghanistan has spiked in recent months with increasingly horrific attacks often claimed by the Islamic State group affiliate.