Despite ongoing peace efforts, with 573 Afghan civilians killed in the first quarter of the year, violence in Afghanistan continues to escalate.
At least 14 people have been killed in attacks in three Afghan provinces in the past 24 hours as violent conflicts persist in the country despite ongoing peace efforts.
In the capital, Kabul, unknown armed men killed four police officers, a university lecturer and a government employee in three separate incidents, said police spokesman Ferdows Faramarz on Saturday.
Two of the incidents occurred on Saturday, while the third took place on Friday evening, according to police.
Targeted killings are increasing in Kabul, where security forces, government employees, activists and journalists are often the targets.
No responsibility has been claimed for the majority of the attacks in the Afghan capital.
At least four civilians were killed in a roadside bomb explosion in the country’s southeastern Ghazni province.
Two other civilians were wounded when the bomb hit their vehicle while driving in the provincial capital, governor spokesman Wahidullah Jumazada said.
In southern Kandahar province, at least four civilians were killed and three injured on Friday afternoon when another roadside bomb exploded in Arghandab district, provincial police spokesman Jamal Barakzai told ToloNews.
Local officials blamed the Taliban for the explosion, but no group has taken responsibility.
The number of civilian casualties in the country rose 29 percent in the first quarter of the year, the United Nations said in a report last week. 573 Afghan civilians were killed and 1,210 injured.
“Of particular concern is the 37 percent increase in the number of women killed and injured and the number of child victims by 23 percent compared to the first quarter of 2020,” the report said.
The Taliban had previously refused to attend peace summits until all foreign forces had withdrawn from Afghanistan.
The Taliban and the United States agreed last year that all foreign forces would be withdrawn from Afghanistan by May 1, a date postponed last week by US President Joe Biden.
The Taliban ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001 when they were removed by US-led forces.
Since then, they have led a longstanding armed uprising and still control areas.