The US peace envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, in a tweet on Tuesday morning condemned the Taliban’s attack on the National Directorate of Security (NDS) office in northern Samangan province on Monday.
“We condemn today's attack. The use of major explosives to detonate a vehicle in a provincial capital is unacceptable and will strengthen those who oppose peace and plays into the hands of spoilers,” Khalilzad said, adding that “All sides must reduce violence.”
A suicide car bomb explosion and ensuing gun battle, claimed by the Taliban, occurred on Monday in front of the NDS compound in Aybak city, and ended with three attackers and at least 10 other people killed, according to local officials.
The officials also confirmed that 50 others were wounded in the explosion and an ensuing gun battle between security personnel and Taliban attackers.
The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Khalilzad also said: “As we look to the next phase of implementation under the Agreement, our approach will remain conditions based. We will press for completion of prisoner releases, reduction of violence, complete delivery on CT commitments and start of and progress in intra-Afghan negotiations.”
He also mentioned that the US and Taliban reached day 135, “a key milestone in implementation of the US-Taliban Agreement.”
The US has worked hard to carry out the first phase of its commitments under the agreement, “including to reduce forces and depart five bases. NATO troops have come down in proportional numbers,” according to Khalilzad.
According to the US-Taliban deal signed between the two sides in February, the militant group committed to avoid attacks in Afghanistan’s cities. Monday’s attack was the first attack of its kind after the peace deal.
Violence is increasing in many parts of the country amid peace efforts.
The National Security Council (NSC) on Saturday, July 11, released data on civilian casualties, saying 23 civilians were killed and 45 others were wounded in Taliban violence over the last week.
Figures by the National Security Council indicate that 16 provinces of the country have witnessed 284 attacks by the Taliban in the last seven days.