A roadside bomb in Kabul targeted Afghan First Vice President Amrullah Saleh on Wednesday morning, his spokesman said, but he escaped the attack unharmed.
Interior Ministry spokesman Tariq Arian told AFP that, based on initial reports, two people had been killed and another 12 wounded in the blast.
In a video posted on Facebook soon after the explosion, Saleh, with bandages on his left hand, said he had been travelling to his office when his convoy was attacked.
“I am fine but some of my guards have been wounded. My son, who was in the car with me, and I are both fine,” Saleh said.
“I have some burns on my face and hand. The blast was strong.”
“This vicious terrorist attempt has failed and Saleh survived today’s bombing in Kabul,” Saleh’s spokesperson Razwan Murad said, without offering more details.
The roads in the vicinity of the bombing were closed off.
Interior Ministry spokesman Arian said the blast also ignited a huge fire in the area, a section of Kabul where shops sell gas cylinders for use in heating homes and cooking. He feared the casualty figures could rise further.
Health ministry officials said two bodies and seven injured people had been transported to the hospital so far.
Journalist Naseer Rahin in Kabul told Al Jazeera there was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombing, which comes just before long-awaited peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban in Qatar’s capital, Doha.
In his latest remarks Rahin reported that Saleh said Afghans will never deal on their values and not compromise.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed was quick to deny the rebels were involved in any way, saying that “today’s explosion in Kabul has nothing to do with the Mujahedeen of the Islamic Emirate”, as the Taliban call themselves.
Saleh, a former intelligence chief, has survived several assassination attempts, including one on his office last year that killed 20 people.
Officials and diplomats have warned that rising violence is sapping the trust needed for the success of talks aimed at ending an armed conflict that began when the Taliban was removed from power in a US-led invasion in late 2001.
Al Jazeera and news agencies