Taliban Kills 20 in Third Day of Surging Violence in Afghanistan

A member of the Taliban and others stand at the site of the execution of three men in Ghazni Province, Afghanistan, in 2015. (Reuters)

Taliban operatives detonated a truck bomb on Thursday in the southern Afghan city of Qalat, killing at least twenty people and injuring 95 others as the blast leveled a hospital.

The attack came on the heels of an Afghan government-led drone strike, backed by the U.S., in the east of the country late Wednesday. The strike was meant to target Islamic State fighters, but ended up killing up to 30 civilians, many of whom were farmers.

It wasn’t yet clear if Thursday’s attack was in response to the drone strike.

The blast at the hospital shattered windows in nearby homes and left rescuers scrambling to find survivors underneath the wreckage of the hospital.

On Tuesday the Taliban attacked two separate locations, killing almost fifty people. One of those attacks targeted a campaign rally led by President Ashraf Ghani, and left 26 dead with 42 injured. Ghani himself was unharmed.

Presidential elections are scheduled to take place in Afghanistan on September 28, with the government promising to deploy 70,000 security forces to protect polling stations. Nine million Afghans are expected to come to the polls despite Taliban threats to disrupt the election.

The surge in violence in Afghanistan comes after President Trump ended U.S. negotiations with the Taliban that would have seen American forces leave the country in exchange for Taliban commitment to security guarantees.


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