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Taliban claims responsibility for deadly attack on Afghan military site as peace deal crumbles further

Taliban claims responsibility for deadly attack on Afghan military site as peace deal crumbles further
The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the bombing of a military training center in the Helmand Province. Amid the failing peace process, the militant movement accuses Kabul of stalling on an agreed prisoner exchange.

“Dozens of members belonging to the enemy forces have been killed and wounded in the attack,” said Qari Yousuf Ahmedi, a spokesman for the Taliban, referring to the Sunday bombing.

The truck bomb attack in Nahri Saraj district in the south of the country killed at least five members of the Afghan security forces, TOLO news reported citing the provincial governor’s office. A security source said the blast “destroyed” the base and left as many as 18 dead.

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It’s the latest episode of violence between the longtime warring parties, which are supposed to be on the path to peace talks following an agreement signed by the US and the Taliban in late February. The Taliban says the government has failed to release thousands of prisoners, which was promised to the insurgents under the terms of the deal.

There was an initial period of reduced violence following the signing of the deal, but attacks have intensified since then. The growing friction between the Taliban and the US, which presumably could lean on Kabul to speed things up, spilled into public view last Saturday in a rare direct Twitter spat.

Sonny Leggett, the spokesman for the US forces in Afghanistan, called for de-escalation, saying: “Attacks generate attacks, while restraint produces restraint.” Taliban representative Zabihullah Mujahid tweeted back, calling statements such as this “pointless & provocative,” demanding that the US honor its obligations.

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