Surging violence claims 15 more lives in Afghanistan

A landmine blast, a mortar attack on a wedding, and targeted assassinations claimed 15 lives in Afghanistan on Sunday.

The victims included a deputy minister, a professor, and guards of an important railway project.

Arifullah Arif, deputy minister for urban development and land, was gunned down by unknown assailants in the capital Kabul, while a university professor named Abdul Nasir Fitrat was shot dead by unknown attackers in the western Farah province.

In the northern province of Kapisa, seven people were killed and four injured in a mortar attack on a wedding, the provincial police headquarters confirmed.

While there was no immediate claim of responsibility, the local Salam Afghanistan radio reported that clashes between Taliban insurgents and security forces broke out in the area soon after the attack.

In the western Herat province, six guards of a railway project linking Afghanistan and Iran were killed when their car hit a landmine in the Ghoryan district.

Completed at a cost of some $700 million, Tehran and Kabul inaugurated the 220-kilometer (136 miles) Khaf-Herat railroad project last year, as part of the large east-west railway corridor extending to China and Europe.

– ‘247 casualties in May’

Violence has surged in the war-weary country since the US announced its troops will leave by Sept. 11, picking up again over the past few weeks following a three-day truce between Kabul and the Taliban for the Muslim festival of Eid al-Fitr earlier this month.

There have been fierce clashes between security forces and the Taliban this week in the eastern Laghman province that borders Kabul, with officials saying well over 2,000 families have been displaced by the fighting.

Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry said on Sunday it has documented 247 civilian casualties allegedly caused by the Taliban in May, a claim that was swiftly rejected by the insurgents.

Source: Anadolu Agency