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At Least Seven Killed In Afghanistan As Taliban Rejects Truce Calls

Members of a Taliban delegation, led by chief negotiator Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar (Center, front), leave after peace talks with Afghan senior politicians in Moscow on May 30.
Members of a Taliban delegation, led by chief negotiator Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar (Center, front), leave after peace talks with Afghan senior politicians in Moscow on May 30.

Violent bomb blasts continued to shake Afghanistan as Taliban militants have rejected calls for a holiday truce.

Afghan officials say there have been three explosions in the capital, Kabul, on June 2, including a bomb attached to a bus carrying university students that killed at least one person and injuring more than 10.

Nusrat Rahimi, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said an Afghan journalist and five security forces were among those injured.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack in the western part of Kabul, which came hours after at least six police officers were killed after a car loaded with explosives blew up in the southeastern Ghazni Province.

At least eight other police officers were injured in the blast at a police compound in the southern part of the Ghazni city, the provincial capital, council chief Nasir Ahmad Faqiri said.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack and alleged that 40 police officers had been killed.

The blast was the latest in a series of deadly car bombs and suicide explosions to rock Afghanistan around the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and Eid, the festival that ends the Ramadan period.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for a May 22 car bomb explosion in Ghazni that left four people dead, including two police officers, and injured 17 others.

Blasts on successive days killed or wounded dozens of people in the capital, Kabul, on May 30-31.

Last year, the Taliban observed a three-day cease-fire during Eid. Many Afghans have hoped for another truce this year.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had proposed a nationwide cease-fire at the start of Ramadan, but the Taliban rejected the offer.

Taliban head Haibatullah Akhundzada on June 1 ruled out calling a cease-fire anytime soon, saying, "No one should expect us to pour cold water on the heated battlefronts of jihad or forget our 40-year sacrifices before reaching our objectives."

Akhundzada also asserted that foreign forces in Afghanistan were "condemned to defeat."

But Akhundzada, who has led the militant group since Akhtar Mansour was killed in a 2016 U.S. drone strike, also said that Islamist fighters would continue talks with the United States.

U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad was traveling to Afghanistan and also Germany, Belgium, Qatar, Pakistan, and the United Arab Emirates as part of continuing efforts to end the long-running war.

The State Department said Khalilzad will meet again with Taliban negotiators for a new round of talks in Doha, where the group has a political office.

U.S. officials said Khalilzad will consult with the Afghan government and other Afghans while in Kabul. The Taliban has refused to negotiate directly with the Kabul government, calling it a puppet of the West.

With reporting by Tolo News, AFP, and dpa

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