98 Afghan civilians killed in past 2 weeks: Govt

Kabul, (Asian independent) Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry has said that at least 98 civilians were killed and 230 others wounded in Taliban attacks in 24 provinces in the last two weeks as violence has increased in 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,” TOLO News quoted Ministry spokesman Tariq Arian as saying on Monday.

Security source told TOLO News that an average of at least 30 security forces have been killed on a daily basis in Taliban attacks in the last two weeks and 50 members were killed in just 24 hours.

The Taliban has however, rejected the figures provided by the Ministry.

The increase in violence comes amid efforts by the negotiating team of the Afghanistan government 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.

In a tweet on Monday, US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad said that “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.