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Taliban Attack On Afghan Army Checkpoint Kills Six As Violence Threatens Peace Deal


FILE: An Afghan man removes broken glass after a suicide bomb blast in Kabul on April 29.

Afghanistan's Defense Ministry says six soldiers were killed and five wounded in a Taliban attack on an army checkpoint in the eastern province of Laghman as a wave of violence threatens an accord aimed at ending fighting in the war-torn country.

The Defense Ministry said in a statement on May 11 that the troops repelled the attackers, adding that the Taliban also suffered casualties though it did not provide specific figures.

The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack that occurred late on May 10.

In a separate incident four bombs, one placed under a garbage bin and the other three by the side of the road, went off in northern Kabul on May 11, wounding four civilians, including a child, police said.

The roadside bombs were spaced within 10-20 meters of one another, said Kabul police spokesman Ferdaws Faramarz. The wounded child is a 12-year-old girl, Faramarz added.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing. Both the Taliban and the Islamic State group are active in Kabul and its surroundings.

The explosions in the Tahia Maskan area of Kabul city, targeted vehicles belonging to the National Directorate of Security (NDS), according to security officials.

In a meeting with Taliban representative in Qatar last week, U.S. special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad stressed the need for a cease-fire after an uptick in violence throughout the country.

The Taliban has not carried out any large attacks in the capital since it signed a landmark deal with Washington in February meant to pave the way for peace in the country after more than 18 years of war.

But the Afghan capital has been the scene of several smaller-scale attacks over the past week, including explosions from two hand grenades late on May 10 in the western part of Kabul.

There were no casualties in that attack, according to Tariq Arian, the spokesman for the Interior Ministry.

Meanwhile, an exchange of prisoners between the Afghan government and the Taliban has continued under the February deal that stipulates Kabul frees 5,000 Taliban prisoners, while the militants are to release 1,000 captives -- a move expected to lead to intra-Afghan negotiations.

The government says it has freed 1,000 Taliban prisoners. The militants have confirmed the release of 300 Taliban members and said they have freed 225 Afghan soldiers -- a figure not confirmed by the government.

With reporting by AP, dpa, AFP, and tolonews.com

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