The latest Taliban attack on Kabul comes amid new Afghanistan government efforts to lure militants away from the insurgency.
The Afghan parliament will soon begin a six-week break, then prepare for elections, leaving less-influential acting ministers to govern.
Nearly half of Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s 23-member cabinet will carry over from his last term, and it will include a former warlord, and only one woman.
The Haqqani network, born of the Russian war and nurtured by the CIA, is behind many spectacular assaults in Afghanistan.
Frustration and fear is sparking opposition to plans that would nearly double the size of US forces there.
At the NATO meeting in Romania Thursday, Afghan officials are expected to request money to expand its National Army from 86,000 to 120,000 troops.
An international agency's report says 40 percent of aid destined for Afghans is spent on overhead costs.