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Afghan politician, three others killed as Taliban launch spring offensive

Muslim Times(Web desk) – A senior Afghan politician and three others have been killed in an attack by the Taliban as the militant group launched its so-called spring offensive dubbed Al Khandaq.

The Taliban claimed an attack on Thursday on a convoy carrying Qamaruddin Shekib, deputy governor for the restive Logar province near Kabul, which left the politician, his two bodyguards and another man dead.

The spokesman for the governor of Logar and the chief of the provincial appeal court were also injured in the attack that targeted the officials as they were driving towards the Afghan capital.

The attack came just a day after the Taliban announced the launch of Khandaq, which the group said would mainly focus on “crushing, killing and capturing American invaders and their supporters.”

Earlier on Thursday, militants launched a pre-dawn raid on two military checkpoints in the northern province of Kunduz. The Taliban claimed the attack which took place in Qamaruddin Shekib. The Kunduz governor’s spokesman Nematullah Timori said as many as 13 security forces had been killed and five wounded although Ghulam Hazrat Karimi, spokesman for the 20th Afghan National Army division in Kunduz, contested the figures and said eight soldiers had been killed or wounded in the attack.

Three officers were wounded in two Wednesday attacks by the Taliban on police checkpoints in Kabul while the group claimed responsibility for a similar attack earlier in the day on security forces in the northern province of Baghlan. An Afghan journalist was also shot dead in the southern city of Kandahar on Wednesday.

The escalation in attacks by the Taliban showed the group was barely interested in an offer of peace talks by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

The Taliban made no mention of the offer that came in February, showing that the group may even intensify its devastating campaign across the war-torn country.

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