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98 civilians dead in Afghanistan as war escalates

AT News

KABUL: Afghanistan’s war is intensifying amid increased Taliban’s countrywide hostilities as the government and militants tussle in Qatar peace talks for a political settlement to end the conflict.

Terrorist attacks and roadside bombings have been increasingly rampant in Nangarhar, Takhar, Kapisa, Badghis, Paktia, Paktika, Uruzgan, Kunduz, Maidan Wardak, Kandahar, Ghazni, Kabul and Bamyan provinces, exacerbating civilian casualties.

Over the past two weeks, Interior Ministry’s figures suggest that Taliban attacks killed 98 civilians in 24 provinces, injuring 230 others.

This is as attacks still continue all across the country. More than 88 civilians and security forces have been killed and 86 injured over past week in 13 provinces.

Taliban are denying any involvement in terrorist attacks countrywide, brushing off government claims. “War casualties have increased because the government has initiated military maneuverings in many areas trying to extend its influence,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a conversation with Radio Azadi.

Hostilities are rising in Afghanistan as negotiating teams of both warring sides have been engaging in marathon peace talks since two weeks in Qatar. The start of intra-Afghan talks has coalesced with increasing calls for a nationwide cease-fire and cessation of hostilities. The U.S. special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad on Saturday voiced concerns about increasing civilian casualties and called for an immediate reduction of violence. NATO civilian representative for Afghanistan Stefano Pontecorvo has called for efforts to find a political settlement to Afghan conflict.

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