Kabul truck attack toll rises to 150, says Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani

Kabul truck blast: Over 30 telecom staffers among dead
Talking to the Taliban: negotiations restart in Kabul
Author

09 June, 2017

The Afghan leader told an global peace conference in the capital on Tuesday that the attack, which took place at a highly fortified area of the capital, targeted "the entire diplomatic community".

Mr. Ghani said the attack near the German embassy had not been aimed at a specific target but the whole of the diplomatic area in that part of the city. "So many Afghans were killed and injured it can not be treated as business as usual".

Tuesday's Kabul peace conference also comes amid an acute foreign relations crisis, as the majority of Afghans accuse Pakistan of continuing to host the Taliban leadership and its most murderous wing, the Haqqani group.

A man injured in the May 31 Kabul truck bombing that killed over 150 is carried to an ambulance.

Several protesters were killed in clashes with police on Friday at the bomb site, and at least a dozen people were killed when suicide bombers attacked the funeral for one of the dead protesters on Saturday.

The president made a strong plea for peace at an global conference on Afghanistan attended by around two dozen countries, which was held under tight security as armoured vehicles patrolled the streets and fighter jets roared over the capital.

The government has named its new regional peace initiative "the Kabul Process" conference but the first meeting is taking place amid worsening national security and deepening political tensions. Afghan officials allege that Taliban insurgents are using sanctuaries on Pakistani soil to wage the insurgency.

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"The Kabul administration wants peace talks only for the Taliban to surrender but this fake process will never succeed", said Zabihullah Mujahid in a statement sent to media, including VOA. Highlighting the goal of the conference, Ghani said that a moot has been conducted to eliminate terrorism and establish peace in the region. As a result, the Kabul Process, which is inclusive as well as "Afghan-owned and Afghan-led", should be supported "sincerely and honestly" by all countries of the region, Mr. Haidari said.

He said the government was committed to fighting terrorism but that it wants to build strong political and economic ties with all neighboring countries.

"It is really hard to be optimistic for peace with the Taliban and other armed oppositions when Kabul has witnessed such a tragedy", said Sayed Hamed Daqiq, a former government official who is now a political analyst.

But in February, the UN Security Council lifted sanctions on him, paving the way for his return to Afghanistan where he has called on the Taliban to come to the negotiating table.

After almost 16 years, and some $1 trillion, now a billion dollars a week in USA aid and 2,350 dead Americans, it seems time for Trump, a real estate man by background, to stop putting into Afghanistan good money after bad.

The U.S. and its allies officially ended combat missions in the country in 2014 and now fulfill a support and counter-terrorism role.

While offering peace talks to the Islamist insurgency, Ghani reiterated his preconditions, including recognition of the Afghan constitution, continuity of the reforms of educating and advancing the rights of women, and renunciation of violence and linkages with terrorist groups. The Taliban have refused to negotiate with the government until all foreign forces leave, and still refer to themselves as a government in exile, angering authorities in Kabul.


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