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21 dead in attacks across Afghanistan as ‘bloodbath’ threatens truce


21 dead in attacks across Afghanistan as ‘bloodbath’ threatens truce

21 dead in attacks across Afghanistan as ‘bloodbath’ threatens truce

At least 21 people were killed in two Afghan provinces on Monday, officials said, as rising violence in the country cast doubt on planned ceasefires set to take effect in the coming days.

At least 15 members of the Afghan security forces were killed when Taliban militants attacked their security post in Kunduz in northern Afghanistan, officials said.

The incident took place in Qala-e Zal district as the men gathered to eat a pre-dawn meal before fasting, Aminullah Ayaddin, a provincial council member, told dpa. Ten soldiers and five policemen were killed.

“A bloodbath is ongoing in Kunduz and the government is worried about a ceasefire,” Sadat said, referring to last week’s announcement by the government of a unilateral ceasefire with the Taliban, set to take effect on Tuesday and last until June 20.

Sadat also confirmed that at least 28 policemen were killed in a Taliban attack on Saturday in another area of the same district.

Six civilians were killed and three others injured when their vehicle hit a roadside mine in the south-eastern province of Ghazni, an official said.

The incident took place on the highway joining Jighatu district with Ghazni city at around 6:30 am (0200 GMT), Arif Noori, a spokesman for the Ghazni governor, said. He blamed the Taliban for the incident.

The militants plant mines to hamper security operations, but civilians are often the victims.

Meanwhile, an official in Nangarhar said the Education Department in Jalalabad, the capital of the eastern province, was also attacked by militants early Monday. Fifteen people were injured.

The first bomber detonated his explosive vest outside the department, while a second set off his explosive vest after being injured, and a third attacker was shot dead by security forces, Attaullah Khugyani, a spokesman for Nangarhar governor, said.

He said an explosive-laden vehicle that was parked near the Education Department was also safely defused.

Khugyani blamed that incident on Islamic State militants, but the group is yet to comment on the attack.

The unilateral ceasefire, announced by President Ashraf Ghani on Thursday, covers the Taliban, but not Islamic State.

The Taliban responded to the government’s move by announcing a three-day ceasefire starting Saturday, which will cover the Eid celebrations that mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

Ghani offered to strike a bilateral truce deal with the Taliban in February but the militants have yet to respond.

They announced their annual offensive in late April, and militant attacks on security forces, district centres and provincial capitals have increased since.

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