3 Afghan districts change hands in 24 hrs
3 Afghan districts change hands in 24 hrs. Image Source: IANS News

Washington, Aug 5 : The US State Department has "unequivocally" condemned the targeted attack on Afghan Defence Minister Bismillah Mohammadi, which was later claimed by the Taliban.

Addressing reporters on Wednesday, Department spokesman Ned Price said: "Although the Minister wasn't present, reports do indicate that eight people were killed in the attack and many more were injured.

"The Taliban have claimed responsibility for this shameful act. The Taliban must stop this ongoing violence. They must stop it." Price reiterated that it was past time to end this decades-long cycle of violence.

"This is not a cycle of violence that started in March. It's not a cycle of violence that started in 2021. It's not even a cycle of violence that, in some ways, started in 2001.

"This is a cycle of violence that has gone on for far too long, and we are doing all that we can, galvanising the international community, to collectively do all that we can to put an end to it," the spokesman added.

On Tuesday evening, a group of militants detonated a car bomb next to the house of the Defense Minister, triggering a five-hour gun battle and leaving 12 dead, including four attackers and eight civilians.

Hours later, the Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

The security situation in Afghanistan has been deteriorating as Taliban militants continue heavy fighting against government forces and gain ground since the drawdown of US troops on May 1.

In his remarks to Parliament on Monday, Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani blamed the withdrawal of US troops for the worsening situation.

US President Joe Biden has ordered the military to end its mission in Afghanistan by the end of this month.

The US Central Command said over 95 per cent of the withdrawal had been completed.

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