Kabul: Two people were killed in an ambush on a bus carrying university staff in northeastern Afghanistan on March 16, as attacks on civilians continued amid fresh efforts to revive stall peace talks.
The driver and a student were killed in the attack in Baghlan Province, an Interior Ministry spokesman said, adding that six university lecturers had been wounded. The ministry blamed the Taliban on the attack, but the militant group denied involvement.
Elsewhere, gunmen attacked security forces guarding a dam in Herat, killing three, wounding one, according to officials in the western province. Four other members of the security forces were missing.
Afghanistan has witnessed a rise in violence in recent months even as peace negotiations were being held in Qatar, including targeted attacks on government employees, journalists, academics and rights workers.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued a statement on March 16 condemning the targeted killings, especially those against minority groups, women, and journalists.
“Unidentified attackers have also gone after journalists, civil society activists, and professionals, killing many, driving some from the country, and leaving the rest to live in fear,” said Patricia Gossman, associate Asia director at HRW.
With the U.S.-brokered peace talks struggling to make headway, Washington’s special envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad is currently on a regional visit, trying to find a way forward before a looming deadline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops in May.Gandhara.rferl.org