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Dozens killed in Afghanistan as violence intensifies following collapse of peace talks

18 September 2019
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Afghan security forces investigate the site where a Taliban car bomb exploded near an intelligence services building in Qalat, Zabul Province, on 19 September. Source: STR/AFP/Getty Images

The levels of violence in Afghanistan have escalated since the collapse of peace talks between the United States and the Taliban on 7 September.

In one of the latest incidents at least 20 people were killed and 95 others injured when a Taliban car bomb was detonated near a hospital in the southern Afghan city of Qalat in Zabul Province on 19 September, local media cited Afghan officials as saying.

The Taliban militant group was quoted as saying that their intended target was actually a nearby building of the National Directorate of Security: Afghanistan's primary intelligence agency.

The Taliban, who have been carrying out nearly daily attacks following the collapse of negotiations with Washington, have also sought to disrupt preparations for the 28 September Afghan presidential election by conducting suicide bombings at campaign rallies both in Parwan Province and in Kabul on 17 September.

The insurgent group has warned Kabul that it will intensify attacks against government institutions as well as local and foreign troops to dissuade the Afghan people from voting in the upcoming election.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemned the recent escalation of violence, saying that "through these attacks, the Taliban demonstrate blatant disregard for the people and institutions of Afghanistan. For Afghans to truly reconcile, the Taliban must begin to demonstrate a genuine commitment to peace rather than continue the violence and destruction that causes such inordinate harm to the Afghan people and [to] the future of their country", he said.

Pompeo also pointed out that Afghanistan has endured blackouts and other challenges for days as a result of militant attacks against power transmission lines carrying electricity to hospitals, schools, and homes in many areas of the country.

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