Afghan auto bomb kills 12 and wounds dozens, including students

Tuesday, 09 Jul, 2019

An eager lobby pianist played an eclectic song-book that veered from the possibly prescient Abba hit "Winner Takes it All" to Soviet rockstar Viktor Tsoi as roughly 70 delegates arrived for the intra-Afghan talks.

Ghani's administration, which the Taliban consider a puppet regime, has also been excluded from the direct US-Taliban talks. The Taliban are meeting with U.S. negotiators and Afghan representatives inDoha as the United States pushes to end its 18-year involvement in Afghanistan, but violence from the insurgents and the USA military has continued apace.

Clarity on a final agreement on the timetable of foreign force withdrawal has been elusive so far, but in a sign of progress the Taliban agreed on the sidelines of the peace talks to hold separate discussions with a group of Afghan delegates.

Afghan officials say a auto bomb in central Afghanistan has killed three people and wounded 72 others, many of them students attending a nearby school.

The attack comes as an all-Afghan two-day conference that includes the Taliban begins in Doha in an effort to find an end to Afghanistan's relentless wars.

The site of peace talks between the Afghanistan government and the Taliban, July 7, 2019.

"Given that we're talking about pretty significant issues like a Taliban ceasefire and a willingness of the Taliban to engage with Kabul, I would be astounded that there would be a comprehensive peace deal with the Taliban by 1 September", he said, while adding that a limited accord with Washington was within reach.

"We think the gap between the USA and Taliban is narrow now".

The Qatar foreign ministry special envoy on counter-terrorism Mutlaq al-Qahtani said: "We are so happy to see all our Afghan brothers and sisters meeting here in Doha".

USA officials are demanding a ceasefire agreement and a commitment on direct talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government before a peace deal is finalised.

"By conducting this terrorist attack, the Taliban showed a paradox in what they are saying and what they are doing".

A senior Taliban official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the protection of women and minority rights would also be discussed in the Doha talks.

During their 1996-2001 rule, the Taliban barred women from working outside their homes, and said women could only go out in public if accompanied by a male relative.

Such fears are compounded by ongoing relentless violence.

Abdul Hai Khateby, a spokesman for the provincial governor, said the Taliban planted the mine apparently to thwart a planned Afghan military offensive to retake nearby areas under the militants' control. That attack also began with a massive vehicle bombing and killed around 30 people, mostly security forces.

The seventh spherical of U.S. -Taliban talks is on stay till Tuesday after "the most straightforward session to this level", essentially essentially based totally on the manager U.S. negotiator, Zalmay Khalilzad.

Afghan High Peace Council member Jamaluddin Badar said government representatives may be in Doha in their personal capacity but they "seemed to be giving the government's point of view". Last night they sat with women and we chatted. "So, it's just a matter of time", said Naim.