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Violence surges across Afghanistan as peace talks gain new momentum

Afghan policemen inspect the site of a blast in Kabul, capital of Afghanistan, on Sept. 8, 2016. One civilian was killed and three others injured as a bicycle bomb planted by militants went off in Kabul on Thursday, police said. (Xinhua/Jawid Omid)
Afghan policemen inspect the site of a blast in Kabul, capital of Afghanistan, on Sept. 8, 2016. One civilian was killed and three others injured as a bicycle bomb planted by militants went off in Kabul on Thursday, police said. (Xinhua/Jawid Omid)

dpa/GNA – As peace talks gain new momentum in Afghanistan, at least 21 people were killed in violent attacks across the country in the last 24 hours, officials confirmed on Tuesday.

Another 35 people were wounded in the attacks that happened in at least eight Afghan provinces, according to figures from officials.

In northern Baghlan province, two people were killed and six others wounded after a minibus carrying students and university lecturers was attacked on the road between Pul-e-Khumri city and Baghlan on Tuesday. Provincial officials blamed the Taliban, but the insurgent group denied their involvement.

In western Herat province, militants attacked a checkpoint overnight guarding a dam that is under construction, killing three members of the security forces and wounding one, officials said on Tuesday.

A mortar shell landed in a civilian house and killed a small boy and wounded a young girl in the same province on Monday.

In the capital Kabul, four people were killed and 16 others wounded after a bomb hit a minibus carrying government employees on Monday. A 3-year-old child and his pregnant mother were among the victims of the incident.

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In neighbouring Badghis province, a former police officer was assassinated by the militants, local officials said.

In southern Zabul province, a magnetic bomb killed a municipality employee and wounded two civilians on Monday.

In addition, the militants carried out separate attacks on security force checkpoints in Faryab, Helmand, and Ghazni provinces, killing at least nine and wounding nine others.

Despite ongoing peace talks between the Taliban and Afghan government representatives, daily attacks occur in various parts of the country, targeting Afghan security forces, civilians, journalists, religious scholars, and civil rights activists.

There is no claim of responsibility for the majority of the attacks. In addition to the Taliban, the Islamic State terrorist group is active in the country.

Currently, all eyes are on two Afghanistan summits in Moscow this week and a US-proposed one in Turkey next month where the warring Afghan sides are expected to make progress towards a political settlement and ceasefire.