Afghanistan

Bloodshed in Afghanistan: Bombing leaves multiple casualties

A bombing attack has left at least seven people dead and over 40 others injured in eastern Afghanistan, just hours after the government took a step towards national reconciliation with President Ashraf Ghani entering a power-sharing agreement with his long-time rival Abdullah Abdullah.

Local media said on Monday that explosives on a vehicle were detonated by its driver near the building of the Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) Special Unit in Ghazni Province in the early hours of the day.

The victims were believed to be mostly NDS employees.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack as of yet.

Violence has spiked in Afghanistan in recent weeks. The Taliban militant group, which has struck a “peace” deal with the United States not to hit international forces in Afghanistan, has ratcheted up attacks on Afghan forces, even as it has been involved in a piecemeal prisoner swap with Kabul that was required under that same deal.

In a horrendous attack last Tuesday, three gunmen attacked a maternity hospital in Kabul, opening fire at pregnant women and newborn babies there. At least 24 people were killed and 16 others were injured before the gunmen were taken out by Afghan security forces.

Even though the Taliban said it was not responsible for that attack, a claim that the US also made, the Afghan government said the militant group was to blame.

The US has attempted to downplay Taliban violence in order not to see the deal collapse. The agreement, signed in February, allows for the phased withdrawal of US-led forces from Afghanistan. The Afghan war, the longest in US history, started with a US invasion of the country in 2001.

The deal was also supposed to lay the groundwork for a peace process between the Taliban and the Afghan government. The recent uptick in violence has only made that prospect unlikely. Last Tuesday, and in the face of the rising violence, President Ghani ordered the country’s military to switch to offensive mode from a defensive one that had been adopted several months before in an attempt to save the deal between the US and the Taliban.

Meanwhile, President Ghani has resolved a dispute with a major rival, eliminating political infighting and strengthening the government.

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