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Afghan road bomb kills nine civilians

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Violence on the ground has spiked in recent weeks despite the Taliban and Afghan government holding peace talks in Qatar to end the country’s grinding war.

A roadside bomb tore through a passenger bus east of the Afghan capital on Saturday, killing nine civilians, officials said, in the latest attack blamed on the Taliban.

The bomb struck the bus at around 10:30 am when it was travelling from Kabul to the eastern city of Ghazni, Waheedullah Jumazada, spokesman for Ghazni governor told AFP.

“Nine civilians including three women were killed in the explosion,” he said.

Four policemen were also wounded, Ghazni police spokesman Adam Khan Seerat said, blaming the Taliban for the attack.

Despite joining peace talks with the government last month, the Taliban have only increased violence in a bid to wield leverage in the negotiations.

The top US envoy to Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, said earlier this week that fighting is threatening the peace process.

On Friday, rights group Amnesty International said at least 50 people had been killed in attacks just in the preceding week, accusing the warring sides of failing to protect civilians.

“The world must sit up and take notice. Afghan civilians are being slaughtered on a daily basis,” said Omar Waraich, Head of South Asia at Amnesty International.

“The international community must make the protection of civilians a core demand for their ongoing support of the peace process.”

Afghan authorities also faced criticism this week after 11 children were killed in an airstrike by the military that hit a mosque in the northeastern province of Takhar on Wednesday.

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