Violent Attacks Plague Afghanistan as Peace Talks in Doha Slow

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DOHA, Qatar — Violence continued unabated throughout Afghanistan on Saturday, as negotiators from the warring sides remained slowed down by disagreements over a framework for talks every week after historic negotiations started in Doha.

Greater than a dozen civilians had been feared useless in a single airstrike by Afghan forces within the North. The deaths got here as every week of discussions nonetheless had not finalized the foundations for negotiations over contentious points, like a cease-fire and the type of a future authorities. The gradual tempo highlighted how sophisticated the trouble to finish to the Afghan battle will probably be.

Officers from either side stated that whereas that they had resolved most points on how the negotiations must be performed, they had been caught on which faculty of Islamic thought must be used for resolving disputes in a means that respects minority sects in Afghanistan.

The civilian deaths had been a stark reminder of the toll of every day’s delay within the talks.

Citing United Nations figures, Roland Kobia, the European Union particular envoy for Afghanistan, stated the violence ranges over the previous 5 weeks had been “the highest in the last five years.”

The bloodiest assault on Saturday occurred within the Khanabad district of northern Kunduz Province. Native residents stated the Afghan forces had carried out an airstrike focusing on a Taliban gathering, with few preliminary casualties. However when native residents gathered to extinguish the ensuing hearth at a close-by home, the plane returned for one more strike that killed greater than a dozen civilians.

“I have lost four family members, two uncles and two cousins,” stated Jawad, 25, who wouldn’t give his full identify however stated he lived within the Sayed Ramzan village that was focused.

Afghan officers in Kunduz initially stated that they had “killed and wounded 30 Taliban” within the strikes, however later admitted privately that civilians had been among the many casualties. They might not focus on precise numbers.

“Initial reports indicate no harm was inflicted upon civilians,” the protection ministry insisted in a press release.

Additionally on Saturday, in southeastern Paktika Province, a deputy police chief was killed in an explosion whereas delivering help to his forces. And in the identical province, a marriage convoy struck a roadside bomb, wounding 19 individuals, together with the bride.

One vital latest shift in rebel techniques, notably in focused bombings and assassinations, is to not declare duty for the assaults, permitting the Taliban to exert pressure while maintaining deniability for the violence.

U.S. navy officers additionally confirmed {that a} dozen rockets have been fired at two U.S. bases in southern Afghanistan over the previous week, together with six on Kandahar Airfield on Saturday and 6 on Sept. 11, the day earlier than the Doha talks started and the nineteenth anniversary of the terrorist assaults on the World Commerce Middle.

“While we are still assessing the source of the attack, these actions are not consistent with the U.S.- Taliban agreement and have the potential to put the peace process in jeopardy,” Col. Sonny Legget, a spokesman for the American-led and NATO coalition in Afghanistan stated in confirming Saturday’s Kandahar assault.

A Taliban spokesman wouldn’t affirm whether or not they had been behind both the airstrike on Sept. 11 or the one on Saturday.

On the talks in Doha, the chief negotiators from either side have referred to as for persistence for what they are saying can be an advanced course of. Each side have largely agreed to about 20 objects on how the negotiations must be performed, most importantly committing to persevering with with the talks even when issues get sophisticated on the battlefield.

However the sides stay caught on which faculty of Islamic thought to make use of for resolving disputes. Whereas either side largely agree on utilizing the Hanafi faculty of Islamic thought, one of many 4 main Sunni faculties that can be the inspiration of the present Afghan Structure, they’re at odds on a formulation that doesn’t alienate different sects, notably the Shia.

The disagreement is essentially political. The Taliban wish to enchantment to its hardline base with solely a point out of the bulk Sunni faculty. The Afghan authorities’s negotiating workforce, whereas agreeing on utilizing the Hanafi faculty of thought, insists on a caveat that protects the unity of Afghanistan as an inclusive republic.

The talks are happening in an atmosphere of deep distrust.

Afghan officers suspect the Taliban need a swift political settlement, fearing that the insurgents are in search of to expire the clock on the withdrawal of the American troops, which is predicted to be accomplished within the spring. Taliban officers say the federal government, which obtained a brand new five-year mandate final spring, is dragging out the peace course of to finish its time period in workplace.

The negotiators are additionally up towards the excessive expectations of a civilian inhabitants crushed by the load of the battle.

“A week ago, an IED went off and my wife lost her leg,” stated Mohammad Shah, 27, who appeared fatigued exterior a hospital in Kabul.

“Civilians are the main victims of the current war. I am ready to sacrifice my entire family if peace comes to the country, but it won’t,” he stated. “I have no faith in the peace process with the Taliban.”

Different, comparable to Hashmat Sayedkhil, an worker of the Afghan ministry of financial system, had been extra hopeful.

“Obviously there is an opportunity, and both sides can show their commitment to the Afghan people,” he stated. “We see a tiny light at the end of a dark tunnel, and we hope the Afghan people get to experience peace.”

Mujib Mashal reported from Doha, Qatar, and Fatima Faizi and Thomas Gibbons-Neff from Kabul, Afghanistan. Reporting was contributed by Najim Rahim and Farooq Jan Mangal from Kabul.

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