Published: Tue, July 09, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Afghan foes meet in bid to secure peace

Afghan foes meet in bid to secure peace

A deadly suicide auto bomb for which the Taliban claimed responsibility struck eastern Afghanistan's Ghazni provincial capital the Ghazni city on Sunday, leaving six dead and injuring more than 180 others, mostly civilians including school students, provincial governor's spokesman Aref Nuri confirmed.

US lead negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad said Saturday that the latest round of US-Taliban talks "have been the most productive of the rounds we ve had with the Talibs".

Taliban Islamist fighters killed at least eight Afghan security force members and four civilians, as well as wounding more than 50 civilians, by blowing up a auto bomb in central Ghazni province on Sunday, government officials and the Taliban said.

Afghan news agency Pajwok says the attack killed eight police members and four civilians.

The number of wounded jumped up from an earlier toll of 70 and suggests a massive explosion. The talks will focus on agreeing on a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan in exchange for Taliban assurances that global militant groups would not use Afghan territory as a base for attacks.

He expressed hope that a final peace agreement in Afghanistan could be reached before the end of this year.

Both sides have reported progress in the discussions before taking a break from the dialogue in support of Sunday's intra-Afghan meeting and they will resume discussions Tuesday.

This article was from Agence France Presse and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

The warring sides started a seventh round of peace talks last week, aiming to hammer out a schedule for the withdrawal of foreign troops in exchange for Taliban guarantees that global militant groups will not use Afghanistan as a base for launching attacks.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed claimed responsibility, saying several intelligence agents were killed.

Wary representatives of Afghan society met Taliban officials in Qatar on Monday for a second day of talks, with bloody insurgent attacks back home casting a pall over efforts to end Afghanistan's years of war.

Nasir Ahmad Faqiri, president of the Ghazni Provincial Council, said in a phone interview Sunday that the Taliban attack was meant to "hide their recent failures as they have come under pressure from Afghan air and ground attacks".

Talks between the US and Taliban will resume Tuesday.

In Doha, any Afghan officials will participate in "personal capacity and on equal footing" with the Taliban, according to Germany, which organized the meeting alongside Qatar.

The Taliban who have consistently refused to hold direct talks with President Ashraf Ghani's government calling it a puppet administration.

Zalmay Khalilzad, who is leading the U.S. side on its negotiations with the Taliban in Doha, told Al Jazeera that "substantive progress" has been made in the latest round of talks.

The Taleban took responsibility for detonating a auto bomb at the start of a lengthy gunfight outside a defence ministry compound in the capital, Kabul, last week. He stressed the right of the Afghan people to establish peace that should protect the rights of all of its groups especially women and children, and also achieve more stability in the world, noting that Germany was one of the largest donors to Afghanistan and had strong ties with Kabul.

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