KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Taliban’s daylight attack on Afghanistan’s presidential palace earlier this week will not deter the government from forging ahead with the peace process, President Hamid Karzai said Saturday.
Though the Taliban have indicated they are willing to start peace talks at a new office in Qatar, their violent attacks haven’t ceased.
Their ability to carry out well-planned and bold operations was driven home Tuesday when a SUV carrying four Taliban fighters managed to make it into a highly secured area by the gates of the palace. Four Taliban gunmen battled Afghan security forces for about an hour before being killed; a second vehicle involved in the attack blew up at a checkpoint on the way into the area.
Karzai downplayed the significance of the Taliban attack, saying “I wish they would spend all the time attacking the presidential palace and leave the rest of Afghanistan alone.”
He condemned the assault but said it will not deter the Afghan government from the peace process.
“We know what the Afghan people want — we want peace and stability in Afghanistan,” he said, speaking alongside British Prime Minister David Cameron at a news conference inside the presidential palace.
Elsewhere, Afghan authorities said a suicide car bomber attacked a NATO convoy, killing two Afghan civilians.
Farah provincial governor’s spokesman Abdul Rahman Zhawandi said Saturday a man and woman on a motorcycle riding near the convoy were killed when the attacker struck Friday evening. Five civilians were wounded.
No NATO forces were hurt in the attack, said coalition forces spokesman Capt. Luca Carniel, but they did provide medical assistance to the wounded civilians.
In central Oruzgan province, 20 Taliban fighters and one police officer were killed in an operation late Friday, police spokesman Fareed Ayal said. He did not provide further details.