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New date for intra-Afghan peace talks in discussion: Zalmay Khalilzad

New date for intra-Afghan peace talks in discussion: Zalmay Khalilzad”

He used an acronym for the Middle East-based terrorist organization.

On Tuesday, several gunmen disguised as policemen attacked a Kabul hospital, killing 16 people. An hour later, a suicide bombing of a funeral in the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar killed 32 and injured about 100 others. The Western-backed government in Kabul was not a party to the deal.

From the cradle to the grave, it seems no one is safe from Afghanistan's endless war.

The armed group denied involvement, and its leaders said Ghani's announcement was a declaration of war. "Deeds must follow! #Taliban must recall the Spirits of Evil they unleashed & live up to their commitment to abandon and fight terrorism in #Afghanistan", Ambassador Prugel said in a Twitter post.

The United States later said the deadly assault was carried out by the Islamic State group.

Directly after the attacks Tuesday, the Afghan government said Taliban militants were responsible.

Khalilzad, the architect of the deal signed February 29, warned in a series of tweets early Friday that the Islamic Sate affiliate opposes peace between the Taliban and Afghanistan's leadership in Kabul and "seeks to encourage sectarian war as in Iraq and Syria".

Ghani's decision to revive offensive operations is supported by many opposition figures, who believe Washington's sole focus is to keep the US troop withdrawal plan on track to help Trump win a second term in the November 3 USA presidential election.

While giving findings of its investigation, the statement said the attackers, whose overall number is as yet unknown, stormed the hospital through the main gate just after 10:00 in the morning.

"This was a necessary but hard decision knowing that women and children in Kabul are now deprived of a fundamental health-care service they need, in a context where access to essential care is already limited", said Filipe Ribeiro, MSF's country representative.

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"They came to kill the mothers", sadi Frederic Bonnot, MSF's head of programmes in Afghanistan.

Eleven were killed, including three in the delivery room with their newborn babies while five others were wounded.

Most of the ISKP members were Pakistani nationals who had infiltrated, four years ago, into Nangarhar province through the Durand Line - the border which Afghanistan has disputed since it was drawn by the British in 1893.

Khalilzad negotiated and signed Washington's landmark peace-building agreement with the Taliban in February to end the almost 19-year Afghan war and bring home American troops.

A Taliban statement on Friday slammed Afghan President Ashraf Ghani for blaming the Taliban for the Kabul attack and accused him of trying to scuttle a U.S. -Taliban peace deal aimed at ending almost 20 years of war.

Khalilzad acknowledged that the U.S. -Taliban agreement does not specifically bar attacks on Afghan government forces.

But it was unclear if the U.S. declaration on Thursday would be enough to bolster the peace effort and reverse a decision by the Kabul government to resume offensive operations against the Taleban.

The core peace plan is for US and foreign troops to withdraw from Afghanistan following an intra-Afghan deal in exchange for guarantees from the Taliban not to allow the country to become a haven for transnational terrorist groups such as Islamic State and Al-Qaeda aiming to strike overseas. Also among the dead are two young boys and an Afghan midwife working with MSF.

The statement further said that the Afghan government took an initiative and developed a peace plan in three articles.



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