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Afghanistan To Host International Peace Conference

19 Juin 2017

At least seven persons were killed as violence broke out in Afghanistan's capital on Friday after hundreds of protestors gathered near the site of this week's vehicle bomb attack to demand the resignation of President Ashraf Ghani's government.

Ms. Lodhi said the timing of the attacks on Kabul suggests those who carried them out want to sabotage any renewed effort towards a negotiated peace.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, center, and delegates stand for the national anthem during the so-called Kabul Process conference at the Presidential Palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, June 6, 2017.

Last week, a massive suicide truck bombing in the country's capital left more than 150 people dead and 300 others injured.

Ghani warned the Taliban - which is steadily gaining ground and controls 40 percent of Afghanistan, according to US estimates - that his government wants talks but that the olive branch will not be offered indefinitely.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the bomb attack as security and rescue operatives are cordoning the area of the explosion.

Wahid Mujro, spokesman for the Public Health ministry, said 87 people were wounded when three explosions rocked a cemetery where Salim Ezadyar, the son of a senior Afghan parliamentarian, was about to be buried.

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"Even if Russian Federation and others want to hold peace meetings, their agendas would have to be in accordance with the Kabul Process".

Ghani's accusation signals the difficulty North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and Afghan forces have in defeating the Taliban and other insurgent groups, which have always been said to enjoy safe haven within Pakistan.

The group is also blamed for several deadly attacks against Indian interests in Afghanistan, including the 2008 bombing of the Indian mission in Kabul that killed 58 people.

The Taliban has steadily expanded its reach since USA and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces formally concluded their combat mission at the end of 2014 and transitioned to a support and counterterrorism role.

NAN reports that security has steadily worsened since 2014 and the end of the main North Atlantic Treaty Organisation combat mission, which at its peak featured more than 100,000 American troops and tens of thousands more from alliance partners like Britain. Police said Friday two protesters were killed and 25 police injured but would not comment on the number of fatalities when asked to clarify the death toll Saturday.

Past attempts at peace talks have failed.