KABUL -- At least 14 civilians, including women and children, were killed Tuesday (September 29) by a roadside bomb in Daikundi Province, officials said, as violence continues despite peace talks between the Taliban and Afghan government.
Seven women, five children and two men died when their vehicle detonated an explosive device in Kajran District, Interior Affairs Ministry spokesman Tariq Arian said in a statement.
Three children were wounded, he added, blaming the Taliban for the blast.
The victims were travelling to a shrine when their minibus struck the bomb, said Nasrullah Ghori, a spokesman for the governor of Daikundi.
No group has claimed responsibility, but roadside bombs have been a weapon of choice for the Taliban.
"Deliberate attacks" targeting civilians killed or wounded more than 800 civilians in Afghanistan during the first half of 2020, according to a United Nations report released in July.
The violence comes as Taliban and Afghan government negotiators are meeting in Doha, Qatar, where they are trying to find a way to end 19 years of war.
Despite calls for a ceasefire, the Taliban have refused to halt their violence, seeing it as key to leverage at the negotiating table.
Seeking regional consensus
The blast came as High Council for National Reconciliation Chairman Abdullah Abdullah kicked off the second day of a three-day visit to Pakistan.
Speaking at an event in Islamabad, he proclaimed that the "ice has been broken" at peace talks, which started September 12.
"Abdullah's visit will greatly help to strengthen relations with Afghanistan and forge a common understanding on the Afghan peace process," Pakistan's Foreign Ministry said in a statement after Abdullah discussed the peace process with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.
"Qureshi underlined the high importance Pakistan attached to its brotherly relations with Afghanistan," the ministry said, adding that the return of millions of Afghan refugees residing in Pakistan must be included in the peace talks.
Negotiations in Doha have slowed as the two sides grapple with several foundational issues, including which interpretation of Islam should frame Afghanistan's future.
"Definitely things take time," Khairullah Khairkhaw, a senior member of the Taliban negotiating team, told reporters in Doha.
"There are many issues, 20 or more, that need clarity," he said.