Bomb attack kills three in Afghanistan

A group of Afghan Taliban militants A group of Afghan Taliban militants AFP

 03 March 2020

Two days after the historic US-Taliban deal, a bomb attack breaks a period of relative calm

On 2 March, a motorcycle rigged with a bomb exploded during a football match in Afghanistan’s eastern Khost province. Three people have been killed and 11 wounded. At the moment of writing this article, no group has claimed the responsibility for the attack.

The blast occurred two days after the US and the Taliban signed an agreement to end the 18 years-old conflict. During the peace talks, which took place in Doha, Washington pledged that all foreign forces would leave Afghanistan within 14 months. However, a disagreement over releasing Taliban prisoners threatens the peace process as it prompted the Taliban to announce the ending of the partial truce and to order their fighters to resume offensive operations against the Afghan army and police forces. The renewed violence seemed to have shifted focus from the foreign forces to the Kabul administration forces.  Namely, on Monday, 2 March, a group of Taliban attacked a police post in Zabul, a province bordering Pakistan. On the other hand, the Taliban agreed to keep violence low, as a precondition to sign any deal, and accepted to participate in strictly intra-Afghan talks only if Taliban prisoners were released. A Taliban spokesperson said: “If our 5,000 prisoners -100 or 200 more or less does not matter- do not get released there will be no intra-Afghan talks”.  The Kabul government replied that the Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani, has not made a commitment to release them. Thus, there is a risk that the militant group will not participate in peace negotiations on 10 March in Oslo.

The US spent a year and half in order to negotiate a full withdrawal and to open a dialogue between the Taliban leaders and other Afghans in the context of peace negotiations. After the incidents, the US commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, General Scott Miller, said:“the reduction in violence was a confidence builder […] The United States has been very clear about our expectations – the violence must remain low”.


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Author: Silvia Luminati; Editor: Aleksandra Krol

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