Violence continues to escalate in Afghanistan despite continued peace efforts with 573 Afghan civilians killed in the first quarter of the year.
At least 14 people have been killed in attacks in three Afghan provinces in the past 24 hours as violent conflict continues in the country despite continued peace efforts.
In the capital Kabul, unknown gunmen killed four police officers, a university professor and a government employee in three separate incidents, police spokesman Ferdows Faramarz said on Saturday.
Two of the incidents happened on Saturday while the third took place on Friday evening, police said.
Targeted killings are on the increase in Kabul where security forces, government employees, activists and journalists are often the targets.
No responsibility has been claimed for the majority of the attacks in the Afghan capital.
In the southeastern province of Ghazni, at least four civilians were killed in a roadside bomb blast, local officials said.
Two other civilians were injured when the bomb hit their vehicle as they drove through the provincial capital, governor’s spokesman Wahidullah Jumazada said.
In southern Kandahar province, at least four civilians were killed on Friday afternoon and three injured when another roadside bomb in Arghandab district exploded, police spokesman said. Provincial Jamal Barakzai at ToloNews.
Local officials blamed the Taliban for the explosion, but no group claimed responsibility.
Civilian casualties in the country rose 29% in the first quarter of the year, the United Nations said in a report last week, with 573 Afghan civilians killed and 1,210 injured.
“The 37% increase in the number of women killed and injured and a 23% increase in the number of child victims compared to the first quarter of 2020 are of particular concern,” according to the report.
The Taliban had previously refused to assist all peace summits until all foreign forces are withdrawn from Afghanistan.
Last year, the Taliban and the United States agreed that all foreign forces would be withdrawn from Afghanistan by May 1, a date pushed back last week by US President Joe Biden.
The Taliban ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, when they were expelled by US-led forces.
Since then, they have led a long-standing armed uprising and still control swathes of territory.