The Taliban took credit for an attack on an Afghan government building in Aybak city in Afghanistan’s Samangan province. The attack started with a car bomb blast and a gun battle ensued, resulting in the death of at least 10 Afghan security forces. Three attackers were also killed in the violence.
The attack could strain the peace process that is meant to pave the way for a withdrawal of US troops. As part of the deal, the Taliban has agreed to stop attacking US forces in Afghanistan but violence between the group and the Afghan government has continued.
Afghan politician Abdullah Abdullah condemned the Taliban attack. “These blind attacks are against the commitments to start intra-Afghan talks, reduce violence and establish peace and reconciliation in the country,” Abdullah said.
Abdullah signed a power-sharing deal with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in May after a contentious election. The deal put Abdullah in charge of the High Council for National Reconciliation, which is expected to oversee peace talks with the Taliban.
Intra-Afghan talks are expected to start after the government releases a certain amount of Taliban prisoners. Afghanistan’s National Security Council recently agreed to release the remaining 592 Taliban detainees. Although violence has continued, both sides have recently signaled their willingness to start talks and follow through with the deal.