A high-profile summit featuring Afghan leaders and Taliban representatives has begun in Qatar in a bid to end the 18-year Afghanistan war, even as the peace talks have been overshadowed by an explosion carried out by the armed group, killing at least 14 people.
The two-day intra-Afghan summit, sponsored by Qatar and Germany and the third of its kind conference this year after two such meetings in Moscow, got underway in Qatar’s capital, Doha, on Sunday, Aljazeera reported.
While about 50 Afghan politicians, activists and journalists were discussing with the Taliban ways to find lasting peace in Afghanistan, the armed group attacked a government security compound in Ghazni city, nearly 150km from capital Kabul.
Taliban fighters detonated a car bomb near the office of Afghanistan’s main intelligence service, the National Directorate of Security (NDS), killing eight security personnel and six civilians, including a child.
U.S. Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad tweeted: “Getting reports of a horrific attack in Ghazni in which schoolchildren were again victims. It is unfathomable to endanger children in this way. I strongly condemn this attack. Peace has never been more urgent and is the only path to ending terror and violence.”
The powerful blast occurred close to a private school in Ghazni, where dozens of children were attending their classes. At least 60 children were among the 180 people wounded in the attack.