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Saboteurs, provocateurs trying to derail peace; says Khalilzad

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KABUL: The US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad in a series of tweets has condemned the attack against the Attorney General Office’s lawyers, and said domestic and foreign spoilers are trying to disrupt the peace process.

They were killed on Monday in an armed attack by unknown gunmen while heading to Bagram from Kabul. Spokesman for the ministry of interior, Ferdaws Faramarz said the killed staffers included two prosecutors, two AGO’s employees and a driver.

“The US strongly condemns the attack against the Afghan Attorney General’s lawyers and other team members working to facilitate prisoner releases. This attack, carried out by enemies of peace, took the lives of five civilians. We offer our condolences,” he said.

He also called for a full investigation to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice. “This attack underscores what we all know: Spoilers (both domestic and foreign) are trying to disrupt and delay.”

He furthered that both sides should not be deterred, and pushed forward to take the steps necessary to reach intra-Afghan negotiations, where a comprehensive ceasefire and a political settlement can be negotiated as quickly as possible. “This is what the Afghan people want and we stand with them.”

This is as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy and head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), met Taliban’s second man and head of the group’s political office in Qatar.

The UNAMA said that Deborah Lyons in a meeting with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, emphasized on a “just and inclusive” peace in Afghanistan.

The Afghan government has released 3,600 prisoners of the Taliban as part of peace efforts, but the intra-Afghan talks have yet to begin. Furthermore, violence has been intensified, and Kabul administration accused Taliban of failures to uphold by ceasefire agreement or at least stay with reduction in violence commitment.

More Afghan soldiers were killed and injured in Afghanistan in the past week than during any other week in the past two decades of the conflict, according to security authorities, an uptick in military deaths amid strenuous efforts for peace talks.

The National Security Council said that last week was the deadliest in the 19 years of war, with 291 members of Afghanistan’s armed forces killed in Taliban attacks in 32 provinces.

Militants loyal to the Taliban rebel group carried out 422 terrorist attacks in the last week, in which 841 soldiers were martyred and wounded, said an NSC statement. “Nearly 291 security and defense forces embraced martyrdom and 550 were injured in militant attacks. More than 148 civilians were killed and wounded in the attacks,” it added.

This is as the Taliban promised to keep violence at a reduced level and to work for peace, it said, “despite the commitments and goodwill of Afghan government, the Taliban kept shedding the blood of Afghans.”

The current and ongoing Taliban attack may law down a negative impact on the peace process.

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