World News

Taliban attack kills at least 12 in central Afghanistan

Taliban attack kills at least 12 in central Afghanistan

A Taliban attack on a military compound in central Afghanistan has killed at least 20 security personnel and injured many more, local officials say.

On Monday morning, a Taliban suicide bomber in a captured U.S. Humvee crashed through the entrance to a provincial training compound of the Afghan intelligence service, followed by several gunmen.

A meeting between Taliban delegates and foreign diplomats was held Monday in Qatar, and an email from a Taliban spokesman Monday claiming that 190 people had been killed by its forces in Wardak said the talks would continue Tuesday. "There were body parts scattered everywhere, many of them unrecognisable", one, who did not want to be named, said.

U.S. special peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has headed a flurry of diplomatic activity in recent months seeking to bring the Taliban to the table for talks.

That year US-led combat operations against the Taliban, the main insurgent group in Afghanistan, officially ended, but some United States troops remain in the country to provide training and assistance to Afghan forces, which do most of the fighting.

Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban spokesman, claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement to the media.

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Defence ministry officials said the Taliban had used a US-made armoured Humvee vehicle captured from Afghan forces as a auto bomb in order to breach the military fortifications.

Death toll figures from the attack vary. On Sunday, a Taliban suicide bomber rammed an official convoy in Logar province, which borders greater Kabul. Some of the wounded were taken to provincial hospitals for treatment while the more serious cases were sent to the capital, Kabul. Exact casualty figures could not be determined, with officials in Wardak and Kabul giving wildly varying estimates, in part because officials of the Afghan spy agency, which prides itself on high-level skills and sophistication, refused to release information.

Afghan officials said recent changes in President Ashraf Ghani's security team were aimed at sending a strong message to the Taliban that the government is equally ready to negotiate or keep fighting.

The Afghan government has played a very minor role in the dialogue between the US and the Taliban, which views the administration in Kabul as a puppet regime of the U.S.an insists on direct negotiations only with the latter. Last year Ghani has said 28,000 Afghan police officers and soldiers have been killed since 2015, breaking the longstanding suppression on casualty data.

The attack was the latest in near-daily assaults by the Taliban who now hold sway in nearly half of Afghanistan.


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