Roadside bomb blast kills 10 civilians in Afghanistan

Updated 14 Dec 2019

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Ten civilians, including four women and a child, were killed when their vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb in eastern Afghanistan, officials said on Friday. — Reuters/File
Ten civilians, including four women and a child, were killed when their vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb in eastern Afghanistan, officials said on Friday. — Reuters/File

GHAZNI: Ten civilians, including four women and a child, were killed when their vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb in eastern Afghanistan, officials said on Friday.

The explosion happened in the volatile district of Jaghatu in Ghazni province after the US and Taliban paused ongoing talks on Thursday.

“Unfortunately, in the explosion 10 people, including four women and a child, were killed,” Ghazni provincial governor spokesman Aref Noori said.

All the victims of the blast were civilians, he added, saying six others were wounded.

Marwa Amini, deputy spokeswoman for the interior ministry in Kabul, confirmed the blast and toll. There was no claim of responsibility for the explosion.

Earlier this week the Taliban launched an attack near Bagram, a major American airbase.

Insurgents often use roadside bombs and landmines to target Afghan security forces, however, the lethal weapons also inflict heavy casualties on civilians.

The explosion comes just hours after Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said insurgent leaders had held “positive talks” with a US delegation in Doha, adding the two sides planned to restart talks after a few days.

Years of conflict have left Afghanistan strewn with landmines, unexploded mortars, rockets and homemade bombs — and many are picked up by curious children.

Last month, 15 civilians including eight children were killed when their vehicle hit a land mine in northern Kunduz province.

The United States announced on Thursday a pause in talks with the Taliban after an attack near a US airbase in Afghanistan.

“When I met the Talibs today, I expressed outrage about yesterday’s attack on Bagram, which recklessly killed two and wounded dozens of civilians,” US special representative for Afghanistan peace talks Zalmay Khalilzad said on Twitter.

“#Taliban must show they are willing & able to respond to Afghan desire for peace,” he tweeted.

It came despite the resumption of talks between the US and the insurgent group just days before in Qatar, as the parties look for a path to reduce violence or even reach a cease-fire, allowing a gradual withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan. Negotiations began earlier this year, though US President Donald Trump unexpectedly suspended talks in September just as the parties were about to reach an agreement, citing a fatal attack in Kabul, in which an American soldier was killed.

Published in Dawn, December 14th, 2019