At least 11 civilians were killed and 13 others wounded in four separate bombings in Afghanistan on Thursday, hours after a three-day ceasefire began across the country to mark the Muslim festival of Eid al-Fitr, local officials said.
Although there were no reports of direct fighting between the Taliban and government forces as they observe the temporary ceasefire, roadside bombs continued to inflict casualties on civilians.
A roadside bomb struck a car in the Panjwai district of southern Kandahar province, killing five civilians, including a woman and children, said Jamal Naser Barekzai a spokesman for the provincial police.
In another incident, two children were killed and three adults wounded when a roadside bomb exploded beneath a taxi in the Maiwand district of the same province, Barekzai added.
In the northern Kunduz province, a sticky bomb attached to a civilian car exploded, killing two civilians and wounding 10 more, said Enhamuddin Rahmani, a spokesman for the province’s police chief.
Two civilians were also killed by a roadside bomb in central Ghazni province, officials said.
Afghanistan’s TOLO News cited a Kunduz resident saying: “The security forces arrived in the area 40 minutes after the incident occurred, while the Kunduz police headquarters is only 100 metres away from the incident area.”
“A Muslim never oppresses another Muslim in this way. We grow our children in poverty and miserable conditions, but they become victims very easily. If they (perpetrators) are Muslims, they should never commit such an atrocity against children,” another resident of Kunduz province told TOLO News.
The three-day ceasefire announced by the Taliban and heeded by the government comes at a time when violence has sharply escalated across Afghanistan following Washington’s announcement last month of plans to pull out all US troops by September 11.
Afghan security forces had mounted an operation to retake a Taliban-held district outside the capital, Kabul, in neighbouring Wardak province on Wednesday but it was halted to observe the ceasefire.
A day earlier, Taliban fighters killed or captured some government soldiers and forced others to retreat after storming the district of Nerkh, less than an hour’s drive from Kabul.