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While the worldwide community sees Ghani's administration as the sole legitimate government of Afghanistan, the Taliban see it as an artificial, foreign-imposed regime that does not represent the Afghan people.

Residents walk through the site of the suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Friday.

The bombing comes just two days after Afghan president Ashraf Ghani unveiled a plan for peace talks with the Taliban, including a proposal to eventually recognize them as a political party.

"We fully endorse President Ghani's call for the Taliban to join the peace process", Gresback, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation spokesman, said in his statement. He described his action as an effort to "save the country" and that he would not "prejudge" any group interested in peace.

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Although soldiers and police officers are reported to be among the wounded no civilian casualties have been so far been reported. Witnesses said five armed men got out of a vehicle and opened fire on passersby before heading towards the French embassy.

There has been no immediate response to Ghani's offer from the Taliban.

Meanwhile, General John Nicholson, the US commander of the NATO-led Resolute Support (RS) mission in Afghanistan, has reportedly said that military pressure will continue on insurgents to make the political efforts for peace a success.

No militant group claimed responsibility for the attack. It was cheered by delegates from 25 countries who gathered to brainstorm how to create conditions for peace.

Security forces inspect the site of an attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, March 2, 2018.

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For months, hopes of reviving long-stalled peace talks with the Taliban had seemed virtually dead.

Much of the centre of Kabul is already a zone of concrete blast walls, razor wire and police checkpoints, but security has been tightened even further after the January 27 ambulance attack and another attack on the city's Intercontinental Hotel earlier in the month. Amrullah Saleh, a former national intelligence chief, called the President's speech "a total appeasement to the enemy". "Now he offered the terrorists a super olive branch", Saleh said.

"We reinforce our call to the Taliban to begin direct talks with the Afghan government with no preconditions", Bass said. He reiterated that the departure of United States troops was a precondition for any talks.

Australian embassy staff in Kabul have narrowly avoided being hit by a vehicle bomb that exploded near their convoy as they travelled through the Afghan capital.

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