09/02/2019, 09.53
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Afghanistan, two attacks in 24 hours. Activists: We need a ceasefire

Taliban militants attack Kunduz and besiege the capital of Baghlan province. The eighth round of talks to reach an agreement is underway in Qatar. Afghan pacifist: "It is useless for one party to discuss peace, while the other continues to kill".

Kabul (AsiaNews) - "We cannot go on like this, we need a definitive ceasefire. It is useless for one side to discuss peace and dialogue, while the other continues to kill" observes Bismillah Watandost, spokeswoman for the Afghan People's Peace Movement (PPM).

In less than 24 hours the Taliban militants have launched two attacks in as many Afghan locations strategic for communications and transport, causing dozens of victims.

Speaking to AsiaNews the activist launches a heartfelt appeal: "Taliban, Kabul government and Americans  must announce the cessation of hostilities, otherwise we will never have peace and a return to normal life".

Yesterday the armed guerrillas hit Puli Khumri, capital of Baghlan province, taking control of some parts of the city. At the moment the area is isolated and there is no definite information on victims and injured.

The day before, August 31, the Taliban attacked another important hub:  the city of Kunduz on the border with Tajikistan. Here the confirmed victims - reports Nasrat Rahimi, spokesman for the Ministry of the Interior - were 25 civilians and soldiers, and 34 among Islamic fighters; 85 injured were added to the toll.

The attacks of the last hours risk endangering even the latest positive statements in view of a peace agreement. The US and Taliban negotiators are gathered in Doha, Qatar, for an eighth round of talks.

Reports of an imminent peace agreement were leaked from the meetings, after US President Donald Trump declared two days ago that Washington will maintain a military contingent of 8,000 soldiers (out of a total of 20,000 international troops) even after the agreement was signed.

American representative, Zalmay Khalilzad, had written on Twitter shortly before yesterday's attack: "We are on the threshold of an agreement that will reduce violence and open the doors to the Afghans, to sit down to negotiate an honorable and sustainable peace".

Bismillah Watandost emphasizes: "These attacks are not a good sign. If we want peace, first of all we must stop shooting the population everywhere: in Kunzud, Baghlan, Helmand and Kandahar ”. (A.C.F.)

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