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Samangan bombing killed 12, injured 63

Taliban claimed responsibility, a surge in violence aimed peace talks  

Warring sides should embrace peace to end this senseless war

Taliban’s continuous violence jeopardizing unique opportunity for peace

By Farhad Naibkhel

KABUL: Taliban fighters launched a complex attack on an intelligence compound of the Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) in northern Afghanistan—a first such big attack by the group since Eid’s ceasefire. The attack began with a truck bombing that killed 12 people and injured 63 others, mostly civilians.

A Taliban suicide bomber detonated his explosives laden vehicle at the outside of provincial municipality building, which is located near to the provincial office of (NDS) in Aibak, provincial capital city, followed by two other insurgents who opened fire, Governor Spokesman Sediq Azizi told Afghanistan Times.

Afghan security forces killed both the attackers. “The clash lasted for two hours,” he said.

12 dead bodies have shifted to the hospital, said provincial public health director, Khalil Musadiq. “Eight women are among the wounded people.”

Taliban once again took responsibility for a heinous terrorist attack on Aibak city of Samangan province that resulted in civilian casualties and the destruction of public properties, Presidential Palace said in a statement.

President Ashraf Ghani has strongly condemned this inhuman and criminal act and said, “The terrorist attack on Aibak city indicates that Taliban still adhere to violence and pursue war,” the statement added.

President Ghani added; “Resorting to violence and murdering people with an aim to get any advantage and more concessions in the negotiations is the worst and evil approach that the group has adopted.”

The president once again called on the Taliban to cease violence and the killing of innocent Afghans and embrace the call for peace of the government and people of Afghanistan and international community to end this senseless war and ensure a sustainable peace in the country

He added that escalation of violence and war will lead to undermining the recent progress in the peace process. The president offered his profound sympathies and condolence to the families of the martyred and wished speedy recovery for the wounded.

Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, the Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation said that targeting civilians and public institutions is not justifiable, calling on all the parties to shun bloodshed.

“Unfortunately tens of civilians were killed and wounded in a complex attack in the capital city of Samangan.”

Such blind attacks go against commitments to start the intra-Afghan talks, reduction of violence and achieving peace and reconciliation in the country.

“Spike in conflict and violence could impede progress made in the peace process,” he said, believing it could also overshadow the upcoming negotiations.   

The Taliban group claimed responsibility for the attack, and the group’s spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said 70 Afghan forces were killed and wounded.

Taliban have continued to regularly target Afghan security forces despite signing a peace agreement with US on February 29th in Qatar, in which Taliban has to halt big attacks.

This comes as the Taliban group on Sunday rejected the call for humanitarian ceasefire and reduction in violence in a bid to start the intra-Afghan talks. “If anyone seeks ceasefire before talks then such is illogical,” Taliban Spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said.

In a series of tweets, he said that war is raging precisely because we have yet to find an alternative.

NATO Civilian Representative to Afghanistan, Stefano Pontecorvo in a tweet said. “Today’s Samangan attack killing and injuring civilians is absolutely unjustifiable. Taliban’s insistence on continuous violence is jeopardizing the unique opportunity for peace. I call on the Taliban to cease bloodshed and engage constructively at the negotiating table.”

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