Violent attacks increased by 50 percent in recent months even as Kabul negotiates with the Taliban, a US watchdog says.
A suicide car bomb exploded at the western entry gate of the Afghan capital Kabul, killing at least three soldiers and wounding four others, an Afghan official said.
The explosion on Friday targeted a government forces’ checkpoint near the gate of the capital Kabul, according to Interior Ministry spokesman Tariq Arian.
No one immediately claimed responsibility, though suspicion immediately fell on the Taliban.
The attack on the army checkpoint follows weeks of violence, including an attack by gunmen earlier this month that killed 22 people, mostly students of the Kabul University. The assault was claimed by the ISIL (ISIS) armed group.
On Thursday, Taliban fighters attacked a government security forces’ checkpoint in northern Kunduz province, killing five soldiers and wounding two others, said Esmatullah Muradi, the provincial governor’s spokesman. Afghanistan’s Defence Ministry claims 10 Taliban fighters were killed in the fighting.
On the same day, radio journalist Elyas Dayee was killed in the southern Afghan province of Helmand in a targeted bomb blast, officials said.
Dayee was the second journalist to be killed in less than a week in what Human Rights Watch decried as an alarming pattern of “increased threats and attacks on the media by the Taliban”.
However, no one claimed responsibility for the attack.
Violence and chaos have increased in the country in recent months despite repeated meetings in Qatar between government negotiators and the Taliban aimed at finding an end to decades of relentless war in Afghanistan. The two sides have made little progress.
Addressing the Herat Security Dialogue on Friday, the government’s head of peace negotiations, Abdullah Abdullah, pointed at the lack of progress in the negotiations and condemned the use of violence by the Taliban.
“The talks have not had any impact on the reduction in violence and in improving the security situation, then where they will lead us,” Tolo news agency reported, quoting Abdullah.
Washington’s peace envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, has been pressing for an agreement on a reduction in violence or a truce, which the Taliban has refused, saying a permanent ceasefire would be part of the negotiations.
The talks were part of a negotiated agreement between the United States and the Taliban to allow US and NATO troops to withdraw from Afghanistan, ending 19 years of military engagement.