8 Afghan soldiers killed in Taliban truck bomb attack


KABUL: A suicide bomber detonated an explosives-packed truck near an Afghan military convoy on Monday, killing eight soldiers, the defence ministry said, in the latest attack claimed by the Taliban.

The attack, which took place in Sayed Abad district of Wardak province near the capital Kabul, also wounded nine soldiers, the ministry said in a statement. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the blast, saying the assailant had targeted a convoy of Afghan commandos.

In recent months, the Taliban have carried out near-daily attacks against Afghan forces despite agreeing to talks with Kabul aimed at ending the two-decade-long conflict. The Taliban and the Afghan government are currently involved in a prisoner exchange, after which peace talks are expected to begin.

Meanwhile, thousands of Afghans have joined an online campaign to denounce the Taliban, posting accounts of brutal activity by the insurgents ahead of expected peace talks. The United States is hoping to draw down its military involvement in Afghanistan and draw a close to its longest war after Washington signed a deal with the Taliban earlier this year.

Stalled talks between the insurgents and the Afghan government are expected to begin soon, and American soldiers are slated to leave by May 2021 in exchange for security guarantees. But many Afghans fear that too many concessions have been granted to secure the participation of the Taliban.

“Giving into terror and appeasing the Taliban is not the solution,” Aziz Hakimi, an Afghan journalist and civil rights activist wrote on Twitter. The online campaign has generated thousands of posts condemning human rights abuses committed by the insurgents, accompanied by a hashtag that translates as “do not redeem the Taliban”.

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