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14 Civilians Killed as Violence Surges Amid U.S. Push to End War

By Farhad Naibkhel

KABUL: At least 14 innocent civilians have been killed while many more were wounded in the past three days of violence in Kabul, the capital city and in northern Baghlan and western Heart provinces.

The Afghan masses have tasted a relentless spite in violence amid renewed U.S. push for ending war and forging a peace deal between Afghan government and the Taliban. The high level of violence seems unabated even amid preparation of the involved-countries in the Afghan peace for participation in the Istanbul meeting convened by the United Nations.

On Tuesday, at least two people including a student were killed and six university-lecturers were wounded in a rocket attack conducted by the Taliban on a bus carrying university-instructors in northern Baghlan province.

Provincial Police’s Spokesman, Javid Basharat told Afghanistan Times that the incident occurred in the outskirts of provincial capital, city Pul-e-Khomri. He blamed the Taliban for being involved in the attack but the Taliban denied the responsibility.

On the same day, a number of Taliban rebels attacked the security checkpoint guarding a water dam in Pashton Zarghon district of western Herat province, killing two security forces. Provincial Governor’s Spokesman, Jailani Farhad said that the perpetrators of the attack were killed by the Afghan security forces in the Tonian area of Pashton Zarghon district.

On Monday, four people including a mother and her three years old daughter were killed in a blast in Dahn-e-Bagh area of Kabul. The death of three years old, Arash and her mother faced widespread reactions among the Afghans in social media.  Arash’s mother, Kahtira Mayel was working in the ministry of education. According to her relatives, Mayel was expecting a baby. 16 people were wounded in the incident, officials said. Afghanistan has recently seen a rapid spike in the string of targeted-killings and magnetic bomb attacks that often target civilian who have always been the main victim of this relentless war which looming for decades now.

On Sunday, three civilians were killed and 10 others wounded in two consecutive bomb blasts in PD 6th and PD 3rd in west of Kabul city.

The U.N. announced earlier in its annual report that over 2,117 civilians were killed and 3,822 others injured in 2020 in Afghanistan.

However, the Taliban have been denying the responsibility for the high level of violence-targeted killings and magnetic bomb blast, but the government and human rights organizations including the U.N. throws blame on the group for the attacks. The Afghan government and its international partner accused the Taliban of not fulfilling their commitments agreed on a deal signed between the group and U.S. on February 29th, 2020 in Doha after 13 rounds of negotiations.

Under the deal, the U.S. is called to pull out troops by May1 including the military contractors and companies, and the Taliban asked to engage in negotiations with the government, cut ties with terrorist groups and guarantee reduced violence.

The U.S. special envoy for Afghanistan reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, who was kept back on track by the Biden administration to continue the Afghan peace process, has arrived in Kabul on Monday evening to brief the Afghan officials about his recent progress in the peace process. “The two sides exchanged views on the peace process and upcoming steps in regards,” the Presidential Palace said in a statement.  

The deal was signed by the U.S. former president Donald Trump’s administration aiming to end the U.S. longest war in Afghanistan. At the initial days of his presidency, the U.S. incumbent president Joe Biden said that his administration was committed to bringing American soldiers back home but would review the deal to check whether the Taliban remained committed to it.

Early this month, Khalilzad embarked on travel to Afghanistan and a number of countries to accelerate peace efforts as the Afghan government delegation and the Taliban representatives then appeared reluctant to make any progress in the intra-Afghan negotiations.

During his visit to Afghanistan, Mr. Khalilzad shared Biden administration’s new proposals with the Afghan politicians and government officials to finally bring close the Afghan government and the Taliban to forge a peace deal.

Following the allegations of President Ghani’s opponent, accusing him of making hurdles before the peace path, the U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken in a letter to Ghani urged him to cooperate with ambassador Khalilzad regarding the U.S. new proposal for speeding up the peace process.

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