Seven civilians were killed by a roadside bomb linked to the Taliban in northern Afghanistan, officials said Tuesday, even as authorities pressed for peace talks with the militants.
The blast struck a small truck carrying a group of labourers late Monday in the volatile district of Khan Abad, in the province of Kunduz.
No group claimed responsibility, but Kunduz provincial spokesman Esmatullah Muradi pointed the finger at the Taliban.
‘The Taliban usually plant roadside bombs to target security forces, but their bombs usually kill civilians,’ he told AFP.
Two of six others wounded in the blast were in critical condition, said district chief Hayatullah Amiri.
Earlier this year, a United Nations report said more than 10,000 people were killed or wounded in the war in 2019 alone.
Overall violence across much of Afghanistan has dropped, however, since May 24 when the Taliban announced a surprise three-day ceasefire to mark the Eid al-Fitr holiday.
Violence had surged after the Taliban signed a landmark agreement with the United States in February, which paves the way for the withdrawal of all foreign forces by May next year.
President Ashraf Ghani had welcomed the Taliban ceasefire offer and authorities announced around 2,000 Taliban prisoners would be released in a ‘goodwill gesture’ with a view to kickstarting peace talks.
Afghanistan's former chief executive Abdullah Abdullah, who has been appointed to lead the talks, said his team was ready to begin negotiations ‘at any moment’.
The Taliban have not said when talks might take place.
LEAVE A COMMENT Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*
Over 400 Afghan security personnel killed or wounded by Taliban in past week: govt
Violence in Afghanistan leaves 17 dead, many of them civilians
Blast at Afghan coal mine kills 7
Afghan journalist and driver killed in blast
Afghanistan to free 900 more Taliban prisoners
Afghan ceasefire holds as prisoner release expected
Afghan president vows to speed up release of Taliban prisoners
Suicide bombing in Afghanistan leaves seven dead and dozens wounded
Afghan President Ghani and rival Abdullah sign power-sharing deal