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Taliban Afghan attack kills at least 14 and wounds more than 180

Posted Jul 8, 2019 by Ken Hanly
The Afghan Taliban attacked a government security compound in central Afghanistan in the city of Ghazni. The attack killed at least 14 people and wounded more than 180. Casualties included many children.
A dead dog lays on the ground as Afghan security personnel arrive at the site of a car bomb attack t...
A dead dog lays on the ground as Afghan security personnel arrive at the site of a car bomb attack that targeted an intelligence unit in Ghazni
STR, AFP
Attack happened just hours before a meeting on preparing for peace talks in Qatar
The attack took place just hours before a meeting in Qatar of Afghan representatives with the Taliban. There have also been earlier meetings between the Taliban and the US. A recent article reports: "Taliban officials are due to meet a group of Afghan delegates in Doha this weekend as diplomatic efforts build to withdraw foreign forces from Afghanistan and end years of violence that continued this week with a devastating bomb attack in Kabul. The weekend meeting, brokered by Qatar and Germany, will follow a separate strand of talks between Taliban militants and U.S. diplomats this week aimed at agreeing a timeline for the withdrawal as well as security guarantees for a post-conflict Afghanistan. "
The car bomb detonated near an office of the National Directorate of Security Afghanistan's main intelligence service on Sunday morning. The Taliban claimed responsibility and said that dozens of NDS officers were either killed or wounded. While some may think that the attacks could hinder peace talks, the Taliban appear to take attacks as leverage. They show that peace is necessary.
Not surprisingly US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalizad tweeted: “It is unfathomable to endanger children in this way and I strongly condemn this attack.”
Casualties
Afghan health officials in Ghazni claimed that 13 adults were killed including 8 members of the NDS as well as a child. There were at least 60 children attending a private school that was near the blast site who were wounded in the attack. Doors and windows of the school were destroyed by the powerful blast causing children to be injured by flying shards of glass and broken pieces of wood.
Zaher Nekmal a health director in Ghazni province said: “The casualty figures may rise as this is not the last report of those injured in the powerful blast."
The Taliban have shown no willingness to cease attacks during peace talks but have launched attacks almost daily. The Taliban now hold sway over nearly half of the country. The Taliban refuse to negotiate with the government of Ashraf Ghani whom they consider a puppet of the US. Afghans at the Doha meeting are there in their personal capacity including Ghani. The US would like the now 18 year old war to end.
Ghani's response
Ghani said: “They stain their hands with the blood of innocent people in Afghanistan every day. They should know that it is not possible to gain privileges in peace talks by targeting civilians, especially children."
Intra-Afghan talks make progress
The intra-Afghan talks follow upon the seventh round of peace talks between the US and the Taliban in Doha last week which have made considerable progress. These talks were on hold while the intra-Afghan talks were taking place.
A recent article notes: "Zalmay Khalilzad, the US envoy for Afghanistan, on Saturday said the latest round of talks with the Taliban in Doha, Qatar, has been the "most productive" so far."The six days have been the most productive of the rounds we have had with the Taliban… we made progress on all the issues that we have been discussing," Khalilzad said in Doha."
The toll last year
UN figures show that 3,804 civilians including more than 900 children were killed in Afghanistan last year. Another 7,000 were wounded This is the worst year to date for civilian casualties in the conflict.
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