Taliban Respond to Ghani’s Statement with Attack

A Taliban attack on an Afghan army compound in Gardez city of Paktia province Thursday morning killed at least five civilians and wounded dozens more, including five people from the military.

A spokesman for the army’s 203 Thunder Corps, Aimal Khan Mohmand, told VOA the suicide attacker in an explosives laden Mazda truck managed to damage the walls of the compound.

Afghanistan’s Tolo news has reported that based on social media pictures, the building was “destroyed.”

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed responsibility and said the attack was a response to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s order to resume offensive operations against the insurgent group. The operations were suspended since the insurgent group signed a landmark deal with the United States in Doha in February to try to end the war.

The attack also comes days after multiple attacks in other parts of the country, including on a hospital in Kabul, killed more than 50 people including newborn babies.

While Taliban denied those attacks, senior Afghan officials, including first vice president Amrullah Saleh, blamed the group for those attacks.

The acting interior minister Massoud Andarabi accused a deadly Taliban faction, the Haqqani network, of having close ties with the local chapter of Islamic State which claimed some of the attacks.

The recent developments may have serious repercussions for the deal signed in Doha.