7 die in Afghanistan as govt seeks talks
Seven civilians were killed by a roadside bomb linked to the Taliban in northern Afghanistan, officials said yesterday.
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.
The latest blast struck a small truck carrying a group of laborers late on 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,” Muradi said.
Two of six others wounded in the blast were in critical condition, said district chief Hayatullah Amiri.
President Ashraf Ghani had welcomed the Taliban ceasefire offer and authorities responded by announcing around 2,000 Taliban prisoners would be released.
Afghanistan’s former leader Abdullah Abdullah who leads the talks, said his team was ready to begin negotiations “at any moment.”
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.