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At least 64 dead as Afghanistan violence spirals

Afghanistan witnessed its worst violence in recent months, with two suicide bombings killing at least 34 people, mostly soldiers in a military base. At least 30 members of Taliban were killed in separate clashes with troops.

The suicide bombings targeted a military base and a provincial chief, officials said.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the attacks, which took place as Afghan government representatives and the Taliban hold face-to-face talks in Qatar for the first time to end the country’s decades-long war.

In eastern Ghazni province, 31 soldiers were killed and 24 others wounded when the attacker drove a military humvee full of explosives onto an army commando base before detonating the car bomb, according to an official in Afghanistan’s National Security Council. Ghazni’s provincial health department chief, Zahir Shah Nikmal, also confirmed the death toll and casualty figures from the attack.

“Such terrorist attacks will create an atmosphere of fear, terror and pessimism among the Afghan people and will harm the peace process,” said Abdullah Abdullah, who is leading the overall peace process in Afghanistan. “The increase in violence is not acceptable to people… and runs against the peace process, negotiations and reconciliation.”

In southern Afghanistan, another suicide car bomber targeted the convoy of a provincial council chief in Zabul province, killing at least three people and wounding 21 others, including children. Interior ministry spokesman Tariq Arian said a suicide bombing took place, without giving further details.

At least 30 members of the Taliban, including six commanders, have been killed and 17 others injured in clashes in eastern province of Laghman, the Afghan government army’s eastern division, known as the 201 Selab Corps, said on Sunday.

According to the army, insurgents attacked the Afghan security forces in the province’s Dawlat Shah district on Saturday. The security forces repulsed the attack, which also resulted in the arrests of six other local commanders and the Taliban’s intelligence chief for the district.

The Ghazni attack comes just days after two bombs killed 14 people in the historic city of Bamiyan, ending years of calm in the isolated town.

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