Afghanistan: At least 14 civilians killed across three provinces

Violence continues to escalate in Afghanistan despite continuing peace efforts with 573 Afghan civilians killed in the first quarter of the year.

Afghan security officials inspect the scene of a bomb blast in Kabul, Afghanistan [File: Hedayatullah Amid/EPA]

At least 14 people have been killed in attacks across three Afghan provinces in the last 24 hours as violent conflict continues in the country despite continuing peace efforts.

In capital Kabul, unknown gunmen killed four policemen, a university lecturer, and a government employee in three separate incidents, police spokesman Ferdows Faramarz said on Saturday.

Two of the incidents happened on Saturday while the third one took place on Friday evening, according to the police.

Targeted killings are on the rise in Kabul where security forces, government employees, activists, and journalists are often the targets.

There has been no claim of responsibility for the majority of the attacks happening in the Afghan capital.

In the country’s southeastern Ghazni province, at least four civilians were killed in a roadside bomb blast, local officials said.

Two other civilians were wounded when the bomb hit their vehicle as they drove in the provincial capital, the governor’s spokesman Wahidullah Jumazada said.

In southern Kandahar province, at least four civilians were killed on Friday afternoon and three wounded when another roadside bomb in Arghandab district exploded, provincial police spokesman Jamal Barakzai told ToloNews.

Local officials blamed the Taliban for the explosion, but no group has claimed responsibility.

Civilian casualties in the country rose 29 percent in the first quarter of the year, the United Nations said in a report last week, with 573 Afghan civilians killed and 1,210 wounded.

“Of particular concern is the 37 percent increase in the number of women killed and injured, and a 23 percent increase in child casualties compared with the first quarter of 2020,” according to the report.

The Taliban had earlier refused to attend any peace summits until all foreign forces were pulled out of Afghanistan.

The Taliban and the United States last year agreed that all foreign forces would be withdrawn from Afghanistan by May 1, a date that was pushed back last week by US President Joe Biden.

The Taliban ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, when they were removed by US-led forces.

Since then, they have waged a long-running armed uprising and still control swaths of territory.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies