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US slams Taliban over Samangan attack

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KABUL: The US Peace Envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmai Khalizad has condemned the Samangan complex attack conducted by the Taliban, saying that it has been in contradiction with the group’s commitment to reduce violence until a permanent ceasefire is reached in intra-Afghan talks.

On Monday, Taliban fighters carried a coordinated attack on the municipality office, located nearby the provincial Nation Directorate of Security’s compound in Aibak, the capital city of Samangan, in which 12 people were killed and 63 others were wounded.

“We condemn today’s attack,” Khalilzad said in a tweet. “The use of major explosives to detonate a vehicle in a provincial capital is unacceptable and will strengthen those who oppose peace and plays into the hands of spoilers. All sides must reduce violence.”

The US would press for completion of the prisoners swap process, reduction of violence and progression in the intra-Afghan negotiations, he said in a series of tweets.

“As we look to the next phase of implementation under the Agreement, our approach will remain conditions based,” Khalilazad added.

He said that US had paid hard efforts to carry out the initial phase of its commitments based on the agreement, including troops’ reduction and departure of five US military bases in Afghanistan. Khalilzad cited that NATO forces had also cut down in proportional.

“We have reached Day 135, a key milestone in implementation of the U.S.-Taliban Agreement,” he added. Citing the high level of violence during the recent weeks, Khalilzad said that countering terrorism needed more progression.

“There has been major progress, albeit slow, on prisoner releases. The Taliban and the Islamic Republic negotiating teams have made progress on logistics for intra-Afghan talks. No American has lost his/her life in Afghanistan to Taliban violence. Regional relations have improved,” he concluded.

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