U.S. envoy: Taliban talks ‘paused’ after deadly Bagram attack

The U.S. envoy conducting a new round of negotiations with the Taliban has said the peace talks will take “a brief pause” following a deadly attack in Afghanistan blamed on the militant group.

An Afghan security official stands guard at the scene of a car bombing near the U.S. Bagram airfield in Afghanistan Wednesday. Photo by Hedayatullah Amid

Zalmay Khalilzad, U.S. special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation, said Thursday he was “outraged” at the Wednesday attack on a medical facility that was being built near the Bagram airfield, in which two civilians were killed and 80 others were hurt.

“When I met the [Talban] today, I expressed outrage about [the] attack on Bagram,” Khalilzad wrote in a tweet. “Taliban must show they are willing & able to respond to Afghan desire for peace.

“We’re taking a brief pause for them to consult their leadership on this essential topic.”

Negotiators resumed official talks with the Taliban in Qatar last week, three months after U.S. President Donald Trump had called them off due to another deadly attack.

Afghan authorities said at least 10 civilians were killed Friday in another attack linked to the insurgent group — a roadside blast in the central province of Ghazni.

U.S. officials say the aim of the talks is quelling violence in Afghanistan and facilitate future peace between the Taliban and the Afghan government.

NATO officials said Wednesday’s attack targeted the new hospital site near the north corner of the airfield with two suicide bombs. Remaining attackers were ultimately killed in a series of U.S. airstrikes.

ByDon Jacobson