A statement by the provincial governor’s office in southern Afghanistan’s Helmand said that at least 25 civilians, including some children, were killed in a bomb blast on June 29, Monday, at a cattle market in the province’s Sangin district. Civilians in Afghanistan continue to face violence even as negotiations between the Afghan government and Taliban are expected to begin soon.
Both the Afghanistan authorities and the rival Taliban have blamed each other for Monday’s attack in the market.
According to reports, four mortar shells landed in the area followed by a car bomb blast, causing multiple casualties and damage to livestock.
In another incident, at least six civilians, including women and children, were killed by a landmine in Helmand’s Washir district on Sunday. No group has claimed responsibility for Sunday’s attack either.
The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan estimated that at least one-third of the total 1,293 civilian deaths that occurred in the first three months of 2020 were caused by landmines or similar explosives.
Despite repeated calls for restraint from neighboring countries, conflict and violent attacks have continued in Afghanistan. The US-Taliban peace agreement reached earlier in February in Qatar has also not led to peace on the ground.
As per government figures, over 422 attacks were carried out by Taliban insurgents between June 21-28 in 32 provinces of the country. Nearly 300 security personnel lost their lives in these attacks and 550 others were left critically wounded.
The Afghan military’s 209th Shaheen Corps, in an official statement, claimed to have killed seven Taliban militants during operations in Khamaab district and on the highway to the northern Jawzjan province on the evening of June 29, reported Khaama Press News Agency. However, the death toll as per Tolo News is believed to be at least 32.
Meanwhile, Taliban spokesperson Suhail Saheen claimed on Twitter that “a total of 21 soldiers and policemen of the Kabul Administration were released from a prison of the Islamic Emirate in Takhar province and sent to their families after giving them the usual package of assistance.”