(Reuters) — At least 11 civilians, including children, were killed when their vehicle set off a landmine in northern Afghanistan, local government officials said on Sunday, accusing Taliban insurgents for planting the landmine bombs.
No militant group, including the Taliban, claimed responsibility for the attack that occurred on Saturday, hours before senior Taliban leaders and UN officials met in Qatar to discuss the Afghan peace process, security for diplomats and people working for humanitarian agencies in Afghanistan.
A Taliban spokesperson said in statement on Twitter that Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai, the deputy head of the Taliban’s political office “reiterated strong commitment to the Afghan peace process in the meeting” with UN officials.
While the Taliban delegation assured security to all relevant UN agencies staff and other diplomats based in Afghanistan, Afghan officials accused the Taliban of incessant violence against government forces and civilians in a bid to seize complete territorial control over several provinces.
Husamudim Shams, the governor of the northern province of Badgis, said 11 passengers, including three children, travelling to the city of Qala-e-Naw were killed in the blast on Saturday.
Roadside bombs, small magnetic bombs attached under vehicles and other attacks have targeted members of security forces, judges, government officials, civil society activists and journalists in recent months in Afghanistan.
Nearly 1,800 Afghan civilians were killed or wounded in the first three months of 2021 during fighting between government forces and Taliban insurgents despite efforts to find peace, the United Nations said in April this year.