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Bloodiest day for Afghanistan; 57 soldiers killed in one day

AT News

KABUL: A string of deadly attacks and bombings killed at least 57 security forces and wounded hundreds more across Afghanistan in the fighting and bombings on Monday, making it the deadliest day since the start of intra-Afghan peace negotiations.

Negotiating teams of the Afghan government and Taliban met in Qatar two weeks ago, but so far progress has been slow and intra-Afghan talks have not officially begun, and Taliban have rejected calls by government and international community for a ceasefire.

The bloodiest clashes took place in Uruzgan province as 24 soldiers were killed after Taliban insurgents attacked security outposts, according to Uruzgan Deputy Governor Sayed Mohammad Sadat. Clashes and casualties were also reported in Takhar, Helmand, Kapisa, Balkh, Maidan Wardak and Kunduz provinces, provincial officials said.

Balkh governor spokesman, Munir Ahmad Farhadi, has said Taliban insurgents had taken hostage three National Directorate of Security agents. Nine security forces were killed and four others were wounded in a Taliban attack on security outpost in Dasht-e-Qala district of Takhar province.

Local officials in Kunduz also reported that six soldiers were killed in a Taliban attack. Pundits believe the Taliban’s goal in intensifying attacks despite the start of intra-Afghan talks is to strengthen the group’s position and gain leverage at the negotiating table.

Despite international pressure, the Taliban have not accepted the ceasefire request. The European Union has said it is “deeply concerned” about the escalation of violence and civilian casualties in Afghanistan and called on the Taliban to accept the ceasefire.

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