Conflicts & War

At least 45 wounded as military complex under attack in northern Afghanistan

Kabul, Jul 13 (efe-epa).- A military complex has been under attack in Samangan province, in northern Afghanistan, after a car bomb exploded in which at least 45 people have been wounded so far, officials said Monday.

The high-intensity explosion occurred around 11am near the provincial office of the National Directorate of Security (NDS) and the municipal office in Aybak city, capital of Samangan.

“A relatively heavy explosion, caused by car bomb occurred in the city this morning,” provincial governor’s spokesperson Sediq Azizi told EFE, but did not give further details of the attack.

However, he added that following the explosion, “45 injured persons have been transferred to the hospital so far.”

A security official in the province, who asked not to be named, told EFE the attack began with the detonation of a car bomb near the entrance of the provincial office of the NDS, which was followed by clashes between the attackers and the security forces.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, stressing that they conducted a “martyr attack” on the Kabul intelligence department for recent “crimes”.

“Heavy clashes underway & so far around 70 NDS workers inside the directorate killed/wounded,” Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid posted on Twitter.

However, officials usually dismiss the insurgent group’s combat claims as highly exaggerated.

The incident comes just days after the first major attack carried out by the Taliban after a brief three-day ceasefire in May on the occasion of the Eid-al-Fitr festival – marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

Last week, at least three people died and 14 others were wounded in a suicide attack by the insurgents using a truck bomb in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar on Wednesday.

The reduction in violence following the ceasefire sought to clear the path towards the commencement of the intra-Afghan talks to usher in peace in the country along the lines of an agreement signed between the US and the Taliban on Feb.29 in the Qatari capital of Doha.

According to the agreement, Washington would pull its troops out of Afghanistan by mid-2021 in exchange for security guarantees from the Taliban.

However, the intra-Afghan talks, originally scheduled to begin on Mar.10, have been delayed by disagreements between the insurgents and the government at Kabul regarding a prisoner swap process, a precondition for starting the talks.

Afghan and Taliban officials have been holding negotiations to complete the exchange of 5,000 Taliban prisoners for 1,000 Afghan security forces captured by the insurgents so that the talks may begin.

The first meeting of the talks is expected to take place sometime this month in Qatar. EFE-EPA


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