Four Afghan ministry staff killed in rush-hour ambush

KABUL (AFP) – Militants shot dead four government employees in central Kabul Tuesday in the latest rush-hour violence to rock the Afghan capital.

The city has seen near-daily attacks during the busy morning commute, targeting prominent Afghans including politicians, journalists, activists, judges, and religious scholars.

Kabul police spokesman Ferdaws Faramarz told reporters that gunmen opened fire on a vehicle carrying staff from the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development, killing four of them.

A separate attack saw a civilian wounded when a bomb targetted another government vehicle, police said.

Tuesday’s attacks came a day after three bomb blasts rattled the capital, killing at least one person.

Afghan and US officials have blamed the Taleban for the wave of violence, although the group has rejected the charges.

The surge comes as peace talks between the Taleban and Afghan government that began in September are deadlocked.

Government negotiators are pushing for a permanent ceasefire, but the insurgents have so far dismissed calls for a truce.

The rise in violence has led US President Joe Biden’s administration to launch a review of a deal signed between Washington and Taliban last year that paved the way for the withdrawal of all American troops in coming months.

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