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As US Offers Hope on Peace Talks, Taliban Kills 16 in Afghanistan

Only a day after the top US general said chances of a successful outcome from Afghan peace talks on ending the Afghanistan war were high, Taliban allegedly killed at least 16 people, Afghan officials confirmed.

As per the initial report, a roadside bomb struck a civilian vehicle going to a wedding on Wednesday evening, killing at least 15 people. The death toll included, 6 women, 6 girls, 2 infants and their male driver, as per Nasrat Rahimi, an interior ministry spokesman. This was followed by another attack killing at least one policeman, said Mohammad Nooragha Faizi, a police spokesman in the northern Sari Pul province.

As per the spokesman, the militants were carrying explosives in the vehicle before they were stopped at a checkpoint on Thursday morning. Upon stopping, they opened fire in order to escape, killing the officer on duty.

Confusing Signs

Earlier this month, Afghan Taliban released American and Australian university professors held hostages for more than three years. The move was viewed as a positive sign, however, the recent attacks have doomed any hope of progress.

Army General and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mark Milley, who visited Afghanistan on Wednesday said, “I think the chances of a positive outcome through negotiations is higher than I have seen, and I’ve been deeply involved in Afghanistan for 18 years.”

“With a bit of luck, we’ll have successful negotiations in the near term, not too distant future,” he added.

The fact is, Taliban still controls majority of Afghanistan and nothing on paper dictates the way they rule their dominion. The past 18 years have seen hundreds of civilians lose their lives. Yet, senior diplomats from the US always talked positively about reaching a common consensus, even though nothing significant has been marked so far.

In September, the President of the United States Donald Trump, made headway for Afghan peace talks. However, he later called off citing them as a planned meeting at the US Camp David presidential retreat, which was another sign that nothing in the near future would happen in the direction of resolving the conflict.

On the other hand, the same problem has also existed within the Taliban ranks. As per Reuters, two Taliban leaders told them that they were holding meetings with the US officials, before the attack killed at least 16 people the very next day.

The solution seems nowhere to be found, and as many times as we have heard from both the sides, the only time a resolution would be believable is when the Afghan peace talks are actually successful.

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