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At least six killed in Afghanistan despite ‘reduction of violence’ deal

Taliban Insurgents (ResoluteSupportMedia/Flickr)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Afghan officials say at least six people have been killed in a Taliban attack in the northern Balkh Province, amid a weeklong “reduction of violence” agreed between the United States and the Taliban.

Five people were also wounded in the attack on February 24 that targeted a checkpoint of pro-government forces in Balkh’s Chahar Kint district, local governor Salima Mazari said.

In Samangan Province, the militants abducted a district governor along with two other government employees while they were on the way to work on February 24, the provincial governor’s spokesman, Mohammad Sediq Azizi said.

Earlier this month, the United States and the Taliban separately announced the “reduction in violence” that took effect on February 22.

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If the truce holds, it will be followed by the signing of a peace accord that would see the Pentagon pull thousands of troops from Afghanistan.

Afghan media, however, reported that the Taliban carried out several small-scale attacks on checkpoints manned by Afghan security forces.

Earlier, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid was quoted by the dpa news agency as saying that during the seven-day reduction in violence there would be no attacks on major cities, military corps, garrisons, or bases belonging to international forces.

Mujahid said that any other attacks outside major cities should not be considered a violation of the deal.