A minivan carrying civilian passengers in northwest Afghanistan was hit by a roadside bomb, leaving at least 11 passengers dead, including three children, an Afghan official said Sunday.
At least 20 civilians were killed and 34 others were wounded in a series of violent attacks in five provinces of Afghanistan in the span of 24 hours, underlining the already dilapidated security situation in the country as the US withdraws its troops.
Australia will shutter its embassy in Afghanistan this week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Tuesday, underscoring deep fears about the “increasingly uncertain security environment” in Kabul as foreign troops withdraw.
The Taliban on Monday declared a three-day ceasefire across Afghanistan to mark this week’s Eid al-Fitr holiday, just two days after being blamed for killing more than 50 people — mostly young girls — in a bomb attack outside a school in the capital.
A bomb exploded near a school in western Afghanistan on Monday wounding 21 people, many them young students, a provincial official said.
“I am now the fourth United States President to preside over an American troop presence in Afghanistan. Two Republicans. Two Democrats. I will not pass this responsibility to a fifth,” said Biden.
If the troops stay, Afghanistan will become Biden’s war. His decisions, now and in coming months, could determine the legacy of a 2001 US invasion that was designed as a response to al-Qaida’s September 11 attacks, for which the extremist group led by Osama bin Laden used Afghanistan as a haven.
The Taliban warned Washington on Friday against defying a May 1 deadline for the withdrawal of American and NATO troops from Afghanistan, promising a “reaction,” which could mean increased attacks by the insurgent group.
The United States is supposed to pull out all its troops by May 1 in an agreement that saw the Taliban agree to peace talks with the Afghan administration of President Ashraf Ghani.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres announced Wednesday he had appointed veteran French diplomat Jean Arnault to be his personal envoy to Afghanistan and the surrounding region, ahead of peace talks later this week in Moscow.
A powerful car bomb killed at least eight people and wounded 47 in Afghanistan’s western Herat province, officials said Saturday. Hours later, the UN condemned an “alarming” increase in attacks in the country targeting civilians.
In a letter leaked to Afghan media over the weekend, secretary of state Antony Blinken encouraged Afghan leaders to consider a “new, inclusive government” and proposed that talks take place within weeks in Turkey to seal a peace deal with the Taliban.
The Taliban drew international revulsion when they blew up the centuries-old figures during their brief, iron-handed rule over the country as they went on a rampage against Afghanistan’s rich pre-Islamic cultural heritage.
Afghanistan received 500,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine from the government of India earlier this month. After the vaccine’s approval by the World Health Organisation, it has begun immunising front-line personnel including health workers, reporters and security forces.
The Taliban are “clearly” responsible for violence in Afghanistan, with civilians and Afghan security forces taking the brunt of the bloodshed, the commander of US forces in the Middle East said Thursday.