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At least 5 people killed in blast of Taliban-planted roadside bomb in Afghanistan’s Helmand: Ministry

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Security personnel inspect the site of a car bomb attack that targeted a government building in Ghani Khel district of Nangarhar province on October 3, 2020. (Photo by AFP)

At least five people have lost their lives after a Taliban-planted roadside bomb went off in Afghanistan’s southern province of Helmand, the defense ministry says.

The deadly incident occurred in Gereshk district on Saturday morning, when a passenger bus hit a roadside bomb, the country’s defense ministry said in a statement, adding that the blast wounded nine other civilians.

The ministry also said that the mine had been planted by the Taliban militant group.

In a similar incident on Friday evening, a passenger bus hit a roadside bomb in Herat-Kandahar highway in Shindand district in the northwestern province of Heart, the provincial public health directorate said, adding that the blast killed at least two civilians and wounding 10 others, including women and children.

According to Jailani Farhad, spokesman for Herat governor, the mine was planted by the Taliban. 

Afghanistan sees the recent bloodshed against the backdrop of peace talks that commenced in the Qatari capital of Doha on September 12 following months of delay over a contentious prisoner swap between the two sides.

The peace talks are the result of a deal between the Taliban and the United States signed in February, which also paved the way for the withdrawal of all foreign forces by May next year.

Under the deal with Washington, the Taliban agreed to stop their attacks on US-led foreign forces in return for the US withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and a prisoner swap with the government.

The Afghan government was a party neither to the negotiations nor to the deal, but it has been acting in accordance with its terms, including by agreeing to free the Taliban prisoners.

Official data, however, shows that Taliban bombings and other assaults have increased 70 percent since the militant group signed a deal with Washington.

The US invaded Afghanistan and toppled a Taliban regime in 2001. 

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