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11 killed, seven wounded in wave of bomb attacks in Kabul

11 killed, seven wounded in wave of bomb attacks in Kabul
February 2, 2021

KABUL (Reuters) – At least 11 people were killed and seven wounded in a series of explosions in Afghanistan on Tuesday, after Western countries called on the Taliban to end a wave of violence that the group denies responsibility for.

With Washington and NATO reviewing plans to withdraw their forces from the country by May, one blast in Kabul hit an SUV and killed two people, including Mohammad Atif, the head of non-governmental charity Jamiat-i-Islah, police in the capital said.

Two other explosions in the city, which caused injuries, targeted, respectively, a jeep of the counter-narcotics force and a civilian vehicle. All three blasts were caused by small magnetic devices known as sticky bombs, police said.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Reuters the Kabul explosions "had nothing to do with us."

In the eastern city of Jalalabad, one soldier was killed and two injured in an explosion targeting their vehicle, Attaullah Khogyani, Nangarhar provincial governor spokesman, told Reuters. Another explosion in central Parwan province targeted a senior security official.

The European Union, NATO, and a number of Western embassies said on Sunday that the Taliban bore responsibility for "the majority of this targeted violence."

The group's attacks "undermine state institutions and contribute to an insecure environment in which terrorist and criminal groups are able to freely operate," they added in a statement.

Talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government have stalled, and President Joe Biden is reviewing an agreement to withdraw US forces by May.

On Sunday Reuters reported about 10,000 NATO troops in Afghanistan plan to stay beyond May, with exact plans to be decided this month.

"If US or NATO troops remain in Afghanistan after 14 months, that means continuation of occupation in Afghanistan," Suhail Shaheen a Taliban negotiating team member said in Tehran on Monday.

"In such a case we will have no choice to continue our jihad and struggle."