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Taliban In Afghanistan Kill 14 Pro-Govt Militia Members As Peace Deal Nears Finalisation

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Taliban fighters in Afghanistan killed at least 14 members of a pro-government militia on Wednesday.

Government officials informed media that the clash occurred in the province of Herat, and several civilians were also wounded in the incident.

The incident has occurred just a day after the Taliban spokesperson in Doha reportedly said that the United States and Taliban are ‘close’ to finalising a peace agreement. Currently, the militant group and US government have just finished their ninth round of negotiations.

A spokesperson for the Herat police said that numerous security checkpoints in Chahardara area were attacked by a large number of Taliban militants. The official informed media that the militants retreated after reinforcements from Afghan forces arrived.

Under the deal between US and Taliban officials, it has been agreed that US and foreign forces in Afghanistan would withdraw in exchange for the militant group making a commitment that Afghanistan would not be used as a base for carrying out worldwide terror attacks.

The Afghan government also aims for a dialogue with the militant group to ensure a permanent ceasefire and to agree on a power-sharing mechanism. The militant group has till now refused to talk with the Afghan government, calling it a ‘puppet regime’ of the West.

While the militant group and the United States are engaged in talks, Afghan government forces and pro-government militias are fighting the Taliban in at least 10 of the 34 provinces of the land-locked country.

Despite the ongoing talks, the Taliban have continued with their violence against the Afghan government and the country’s civilian populace. In early August, 14 people were killed and 145 were injured in an attack on a police headquarter in the capital.

The militant group, however, is not the only threat to the peace in Afghanistan. Even if peace with the Taliban is enforced through a deal, Afghanistan faces threat from other non-state actors such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Last Saturday, ISIS carried out a deadly bombing during a wedding at Kabul, a brutal attack that killed 80 people and injured more than 160.

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Naya Daur