180 civilians have been killed and 375 have been wounded over the last month in a spate of violence across Afghanistan, the Afghan Ministry of Interior (MoI) said on Tuesday.
This comes as negotiators representing the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in the peace talks with the Taliban are in Doha to help find a negotiated settlement to the current bloody conflict in the country; however, no breakthrough has been achieved so far and the formal talks have yet to begin.
The slow pace of the talks in Doha and the ongoing violence have also sparked strong reactions from the Afghan public.
On Tuesday, a number of residents in Kabul gathered to call on the warring sides to reduce the level of violence and ensure the protection of the gains the country has made over the past two decades.
“Where is peace? Which peace? While we are going to Doha for talks, you witness a wave of suicide attacks, there are explosions, soldiers are being martyred--we do not need this kind of peace,” said Najibullah Kabuli, the head of Musharekat-e-Milli party.
“The people do not know what will happen. Are the Taliban coming to take over the government by force or will there be an Islamic emirate?” asked Hamid Sultani, peace activist.
“The people have grave concerns, they ask what will happen next. Some people are trying to complete their projects, they are not willing to launch new projects,” said Shafiqullah, a businessman.
Residents in other provinces of the country also called for the violence to stop.
“A month has passed since the start of the talks, the prolongation of the talks has left an impact on people’s hopes,” said Esmat Suhail, a resident of Badghis.
“The Taliban do not have any justification for their war, they must stop the violence and make peace,” said Arif Hasrat, a resident in Badghis.
In Herat, activists during an exhibition called for violence to be halted to save civilian lives.
“All these paintings reflect the pains and wounds of the children,” said Aziz Ahmad Suran, organizer.
In the latest violence, on Tuesday at least five civilians were killed and nine more were wounded in two roadside bomb blasts in Jalrez district, Maidan Wardak province, early on Tuesday morning, the provincial governor’s office said.
In Khost, Abdul Hai Zazai, district governor of Zazai Maidan in eastern Khost, was killed in an ambush on Monday by gunmen in central Logar province, said the provincial governor's media office.
The incident occurred as Zazai was on his way to Kabul province, the statement said, adding that “Mr Zazai and one of his bodyguards were killed and two others were wounded.”