Foreign diplomatic missions in Afghanistan called for the Taliban on Monday to cease its military offensive, saying it runs counter to claims the insurgent group wants a negotiated settlement to the war. The collective call comes a day after the Taliban and senior envoys representing the Afghan government ended a two-day meeting in Doha, Qatar, on Sunday without reporting any significant progress on peace talks.
Fifteen missions, including the United States along with the NATO envoy in Afghanistan, said in a joint statement that the insurgent violence, quote, "thwarts efforts to arrive at a negotiated solution to the conflict and harms and displaces the civilian population."
The statement added, "The Taliban's offensive is in direct contradiction to their claim to support a negotiated settlement of the conflict and to the Doha peace process."
It was widely anticipated the Doha meeting over the weekend would produce a temporary mutual cease-fire to allow war-weary Afghans to peacefully celebrate the Muslim festival of Eid starting on Tuesday. But a post-meeting joint statement made no mention of a halt to the escalating Afghan hostilities.
Iraqi medical officials say a roadside bomb attack has targeted the Baghdad suburb of Sadr City, killing at least 30 people and wounding dozens of others at a crowded market. The bombing happened a day before the Eid al-Adha holiday when the market was busy with shoppers.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility but the Islamic State group has claimed similar attacks in the area before.
It was the third time this year that a bomb hit a market in the densely populated neighborhood in eastern Baghdad.