98 civilians killed in past two weeks: MoI

KABUL (TOLOnews): Statistics by the Ministry of Interior Affairs indicate that at least 98 civilians were killed and 230 others were wounded in Taliban attacks in 24 provinces in the last two weeks as violence increasesin the country amid the ongoing peace efforts.

“The Taliban has inflicted the casualties on our countrymen in 24 provinces and the most casualties have been in Takhar and Nangarhar provinces,” said Tariq Arian, spokesman for the Ministry of Interior Affairs.

The Taliban has rejected the figures provided by the ministry. A security source told TOLOnews that an average of at least 30 security force members have been killed on a daily basis in Taliban attacks over the last two weeks.
Meanwhile, at least 50 security force members were killed in conflicts over the last 24 hours. According to sources and officials:

11 soldiers were killed in Takhta Pul and Maroof districts of Kandahar. Eight soldiers were killed in Tagab district of Kapisa. Nine soldiers were killed in Takhar. Five security force members were killed in Balkh.

And 20 security force members were killed in Maidan Wardak.

Kunduz has been one of the volatile provinces in the last two weeks. Its residents said the conflicts have displaced many families.

“I am from Khan Abad district. We call on the Taliban to stop killing of Afghans,” said a displaced person in Kunduz.

“We call on both sides to stop the bloodshed and stop violence,” said a displaced person in Kunduz.

The Maidan Wardak governor’s spokesman Mohibullah Sharifzoi said the Taliban has also suffered casualties in the clashes.

“Taliban commanders and group leaders were among the 26 fighters of the group killed in the attacks,” he said.

“Three anti-government militants were killed in Takhtapul district and they have casualties in Maroof district as well,” Kandahar police spokesman Jamal Barikzai said.

The increase in violence comes amid efforts by the negotiating team of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in Doha to start direct talks with the Taliban. The two sides have held four small “contact” group meetings over the last nine days to try and decide the rules, agenda and scheduling for the official talks.

US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad in a tweet early on Monday said “over the last few days, there has been a clear rise in violence in Afghanistan” and that “this escalation is regrettable as Afghans, including many civilians, are losing their lives.”

He called on all sides to reduce violence.

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