Security

Taliban continue torrent of attacks as 23 civilians killed in Helmand

AFP

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Afghan security personnel inspect the site of a car bomb attack in Lashkar Gah, capital of Helmand province on February 24, 2018. [NOOR MOHAMMAD / AFP]

KANDAHAR -- Multiple explosions tore through a busy market in Helmand Province on Monday (June 29), killing at least 23 civilians, officials said, blaming the Taliban for the carnage.

The latest bloodshed comes as both the Taliban and Afghan government prepare to launch peace talks aimed at ending the country's almost two-decade-old war.

The blasts at the bazaar in Sangin District wounded 15 people, the governor's office and military officials said in separate statements.

Rockets hit the market at 9am local time after which a car bomb exploded, the governor's office said. It pinned the blame on Taliban militants.

The army also accused the Taliban.

Two Taliban insurgents were killed, the governor's office added.

"Unfortunately, 23 civilians were killed and around 15 others were wounded," the army said in its statement.

The Taliban denied responsibility, accusing the army of firing the rockets.

Attacks on the rise

The militants hold large areas of Helmand Province, a region known for its opium production.

President Ashraf Ghani condemned the terrorist attack, which he said left several children dead.

"The Afghan government once again calls on the Taliban to give up violence, and heed the demand of the people to stop fighting and start talks," Ghani said in a statement issued by his office.

Violence dropped after the Taliban offered a rare ceasefire to mark the Eid ul Fitr festival on May 24, but officials say the militants have now stepped up attacks on security forces and civilians.

In recent weeks, several brutal terrorist acts have targeted Afghan security forces, mosques, human-rights workers and prosecutors.

On June 22, the National Security Council said the Taliban had killed at least 291 Afghan security personnel in the prior week, calling it the deadliest week in the 19-year conflict.

The Taliban have denied most of these attacks but acknowledge that the group's fighters have been targeting security forces.

The rise in violence in recent weeks comes as both the government and Taliban are set to engage in peace talks.

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The rockets fired at the Sangin Division were improvised and not fired with a weapon that is why it failed to hit the target, and Taliban regret for firing rockets at the market and to avoid disgrace they put responsibility of on the army.

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Death to terrorists, supporters of terrorists. Pakistan is behind this event. Pakistan never wants Afghans to live in peace and have a human life.

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May Allah the great destroy all those who have killed these poor civilians mercilessly. Don't they fear from God? Don't they go to God? I believe that these peoples' faces will be black in the hereafter and they will be thrown to the hell and there they will be burnt in the fire of the hell. Following that I read your report, my hatred toward the terrorists increased. If Allah is willing, Allah will take revenge of these oppressed civilians from the Talib terrorists.

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The war in Afghanistan is the war between the two major powers; Russia and America. Russia is funding Taliban to fight against the US supported government, and the United States is funding the Afghan government to fight against Taliban. This war causes damage neither to Russia nor to America. The victims of this war are poor Afghans. Afghans are used as firewood in this war. Whether they are Afghan armies, Taliban or the civilians, all of them are firewood of the war of America and Russia. Afghans should come to a little bit of sense and become clever. How long should we be the victims of the proxy wars of the countries of the region? How long should the Afghan women become widows? How long should Afghan children become orphans? How long should the Afghan people live in poverty and hunger? I request all of my people, please fear from God; work for the rescue of Afghanistan. Let's lay aside our prejudices and work for peace in the country. What is going on in this country? Every day people get killed. If every single individual of our country does not work for the rescue of Afghanistan and peace in this country, we will be sinful before God in the hereafter.

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Death to the criminal and savage terrorists who cruelly martyr our oppressed compatriots every day. Every day, these cruel people kill not only military personnel, but also target the civilians. It seems that there is no difference between military personnel and civilians for the wild terrorists. They have been assigned just for killing of Afghans. They have been assigned to kill Afghans and destroy Afghanistan. They have no other goals. May God ruin and destroy all those who martyred these civilians. God will take revenge of these martyrs from them.

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