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‘Over 350,000 displaced by conflict since January’

AT News Report

KABUL: Over 350,000 people have been displaced by conflict across war-torn Afghanistan during the current year so far, says the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

According to the OCHA’s data, overall, 354,664 people were displaced in 31 of the total of 34 provinces since January 1 this year. About 310,000 people were forced from their homes in the same period last year.

Most people who fled were in the northeast region with more than 160,000 people displaced, followed by the east with 68,000, the north with 60,000, and west with 29,900.

This mass displacement takes places as Afghan government forces continue to battle the Taliban and the Daesh terrorist groups. Fighting surged this year during ongoing talks between the US and the Taliban aimed at finding a political settlement for the conflict.

This is while Afghan civilians have paid a high cost for hostilities between the government and the Taliban. As per UN figures, over 1,100 non-combatants were killed in violence between July and September, with the Taliban carrying out numerous bloody attacks during the Afghan presidential polls on Sept. 28.

According to experts, the parties into conflict have tried to gain leverage during negotiations through military gains. The peace talks were called off by US President Donald Trump in early September after an American soldier was killed in a Taliban attack.

However, there are signs the talks might resume. US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad arrived in the Afghan capital on Saturday and met with top Afghan officials. The visit was Khalilzad’s first to Afghanistan since the talks with the Taliban were cancelled.

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