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Two Afghan human rights activist killed in Kabul blast

KABUL: Two members of Afghanistan’s independent human rights commission were killed in a bomb blast in Kabul on Saturday.
In a statement, the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) said that a 24-year-old donor coordinator Fatima Khalil and a 41-year-old driver Ahmad Jawed Fold were killed in an explosive device bomb attack on Saturday.
The AIHRC said, “It is intolerable, assassinating human rights defenders is a war crime in the context of armed conflict.” adding that staff had previously been the target of attacks.
Meanwhile, Kabul’s police spokesman confirmed that two people died in a blast on Saturday. The United Nations and foreign powers, including the United Kingdom and Turkey, condemned Saturday’s attack.
“There can be no justification for attacks against human rights defenders. Immediate investigation needed with perpetrators held to account,” the UN mission to Afghanistan said on Twitter.

However, no group claimed responsibility for the attack. A Taliban spokesman denied the group was involved.
The attack comes at a sensitive time amidst heightened violence around Afghanistan, including growing attacks against officials in urban centers.
The United States and other foreign collation forces are trying to usher the insurgent Taliban and the Afghan government towards peace talks after the United States signed a troop withdrawal deal in February with the militant group to pave the way to end more than 18 years of war.
Negotiations were expected to begin soon after progress was made on a dispute over the release of a controversial group of Taliban prisoners, Reuters reported on Friday.
However, a diplomatic source in Kabul said rising violence could hamper the peace process, and that foreign players were trying to appeal to the Taliban to reduce attacks.
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