KABUL (AP) — At least 11 Afghan soldiers and police were killed in Taliban attacks in the north and south of the country, the Ministry of Defence and a provincial officer said Monday. The incidents came after the president, Ashraf Ghani, announced last week his 21-member negotiating team for talks with the Taliban. His main political rival, Abdullah Abdullah, rejected the list of selected ones claiming that it was not inclusive enough.
The Taliban did not claim authorship of the latest attacks. According to the Afghan Ministry of Defense, insurgents attacked military control from several fronts Sunday night in Argandab district in southern Zabul province, killing at least six screeds. In the northern province of Baghlan, at least five members of the security forces were killed and six injured when their roadblock was attacked Sunday by the Taliban on the outskirts of the provincial capital, Pulikhomri, Mabobullah Ghafari said, member of the provincial council. At least four people were killed in Kabul on Monday when a sticky bomb exploded attached to a vehicle, firdaus Faramraz, spokesman for the capital’s police chief, said. The political crisis in Afghanistan and the rivalry between Ghani and Abdullah have prevented progress in talks with the Taliban. Negotiations were scheduled to begin following the agreement signed by Washington and the insurgents last month. The agreement calls for the withdrawal of 13,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan in exchange for Taliban guarantees that they will fight other armed groups such as the extremist group Islamic State. The agreement has presented itself as Afghanistan’s best chance to end its successive wars. But Ghani and Abdullah, who also claimed the presidency at a rival investiture ceremony this month, are engaged in a power struggle that has led Washington to threaten to cut $1 billion in aid to the country if they do not re-investigate the situation. The Taliban planned to send 10 representatives to the US-led coalition base in Bagram, north of Kabul, to oversee the release of its prisoners. That release was part of the agreement with Washington, which included the release of 5,000 Taliban and 1,000 Afghan officials and military held by the Taliban.