At least 28 killed as Afghan bus hits roadside bomb

Saturday, 03 Aug, 2019

At least 34 civilians were killed on Wednesday when a bus was hit by a roadside blast, officials said. Several injured were shifted to a regional hospital in neighboring Herat province, the official added.

The U.S. side has said that this kind of intra-Afghan peace negotiation is one of four key pillars it is seeking in its own talks with the Taliban, and it must be included for the others, such as a U.S. troop withdrawal, to take place.

A senior official at UNMAS in Kabul said initial reports suggested a bomb with a pressure plate was used in the bus blast in Farah.

Violent attacks are not only perpetrated by the Taliban; other armed militant groups like "Islamic State" (IS) and Taliban factions that oppose a peace deal with the U.S. and Afghan authorities are also targeting civilians.

In past "green on blue" incidents, the attackers have included both bona fide Afghan troops who were angry, disgruntled or influenced by Taliban propaganda, and insurgent infiltrators who enlisted to attack and sabotage foreign forces.

Wednesday's blast comes ahead of USA officials and Taliban representatives resuming peace talks to agree on a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign forces in exchange for security guarantees by the Taliban. Michael I. Nance at Dover Air Force Base, Del., on Wednesday.

Experts say that irrespective of a potential peace deal between the Taliban and the US, Taliban factions and other militant groups will not cease violence.

Mohammad Qasam, a deputy police chief in Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan, said the attack took place at an Afghan army base during a visit by U.S. forces.

There has been a noticeable uptick in USA strikes in Afghanistan.

The attack comes just a day after the United Nations condemned the "shocking" number of civilians killed in the Afghan war this year.

Pakistan on Wednesday condemned the bomb attack on a passenger bus in Afghanistan's capital Kabul that left scores of people killed and injured, the Foreign Ministry said here. The Taliban will also declare ceasefire after the USA starts troop withdrawal, they said.

No information was immediately available about the shooter except that he was an Afghan army soldier.

"Taliban planted mines kill civilians", Seddiqi said.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for that killing.