Bomb Kills 3 Afghan Officials

A bomb explosion in Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, early Sunday killed a government spokesperson and two of his colleagues.Officials said a “magnetic mine” targeted a vehicle that was transporting Zia Wadan, spokesperson for the National Public Protection Force, in the country’s Interior Affairs Ministry. The attack also injured one person, the statement added.Afghan President Ashraf Ghani “vehemently condemned the terrorist” act and ordered the relevant authorities to arrest those behind it, his office said.No one claimed responsibility for the bombing, but Ghani blamed Taliban insurgents for plotting it.“The spike in violence by the Taliban is against spirit of commitment for peace and indicates that the group still pursues their hawkish attitude to take innocent lives and damage public facilities,” the Afghan president said.Kabul has been plagued by a wave of mostly unclaimed targeted killings of government officials, prominent journalists and civil society representatives.Afghan authorities and the U.S. military have accused the Taliban of plotting the assassination spree, charges the insurgent group rejects.Separately, Afghan security forces overnight carried out a counter-Taliban airstrike in the southwestern Nimruz province, reportedly killing some civilians.The attack in Khash Rod district destroyed several civilian houses, and women as well as children were among the victims, according the Afghan 1TV private television station.The Defense Ministry has not immediately commented on the incident.Sunday’s violence comes as the Taliban and representatives of the Afghan government are engaged in peace talks in Qatar’s capital, Doha.The U.S.-brokered so-called intra-Afghan dialogue, which began in September, stemmed from a landmark deal Washington signed with the Taliban in February 2020 to try to close the 19-year-old war in Afghanistan and bring home all U.S. troops.

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