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Afghan car bombing leaves 12 dead, many wounded

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HERAT: A car bomb targeting an Afghan police headquarters in the western province of Ghor killed at least 12 civilians and wounded more than 100 on Sunday, officials said.

The attack took place in Feroz Koh, the capital of Ghor, a province that has not seen much violence compared to some other regions of the conflict-wracked country.

“The terrorists detonated an explosives-filled car… as a result 12 civilians were killed and more than 100 people were wounded,” the interior ministry said.

Juma Gul Yakoobi, a Ghor health official, told AFP victims also included members of security forces.

The presidency blamed the Taliban for the attack.

“Continuation of violence and attacks by the Taliban will seriously challenge the peace efforts by government of Afghanistan and its international partners,” it said.

Govt blames Taliban for attack on police headquarters

Peace talks between the Taliban and Afghan government began in Qatar last month, but violence has continued unabated on the ground.

Thousands of families were forced to flee from their homes in the restive southern province of Helmand this month as fierce fighting erupted between the Taliban and government forces.

Sporadic fighting continued even on Sunday as government forces pushed with a counter-offensive to retake some of the lost ground in and around the provincial capital of Lashkar Gah, officials said.

Earlier this week, top US negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad said the Taliban had assured US forces of reducing attacks and casualties.

“At present too many Afghans are dying. With the re-set, we expect that number to drop significantly,” Khalilzad, who negotiated a Feb 29 deal with the Taliban to pull out US forces, wrote on Twitter.

The Taliban, however, charged American forces with violating that deal by carrying out air strikes in Helmand against their fighters.

“All contents of the US-Islamic Emirate agreement are unambiguous, but the opposite side has violated its commitments on numerous occasions, are engaging in provocative actions and bombing non-combat zones,” the Taliban said in a statement on Sunday.

The US military dismissed the Taliban’s accusation.

“US airstrikes in Helmand and Farah have been and continue to be solely in defence of the ANDSF as they are being attacked by the Taliban,” US military spokesman Colonel Sonny Leggett said on Twitter referring to Afghan government forces.

Under the February deal, the Taliban said they would not attack cities while the US said it would refrain from assaults on the insurgents except to defend the Afghan forces.

Afghan officials accused the Taliban of breaching the agreement with an assault on Lashkar Gah.

The attack prompted the US to call in air strikes to defend Afghan forces.

Published in Dawn, October 19th, 2020

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