14 killed as mortars hit Afghan market: Officials

KABUL (AFP) – At least 14 people were killed and dozens more wounded when a busy market in northern Afghanistan was hit by mortar fire, officials said on Saturday.

Several Taleban shells hit the market on Friday morning in the Khwaja Sabz Posh district of Faryab province, according to Hanif Rezaee, an Afghan army spokesman. “Fourteen civilians were killed and 40 – including women and children – were wounded,” Rezaee told AFP.

The Taleban had been trying to hit an army checkpoint near the market. The insurgent group did not immediately comment.

Faryab’s Public Health Director Naem Musamim said 14 bodies and 39 wounded people including four children had been taken to local hospitals. Some victims with critical injuries were airlifted to hospitals in Mazar-i-Sharif in Balkh province.

The deadly incident comes as the war between the Taleban and Afghan security forces rages on, even as Taleban officials are meeting with United States (US) negotiators in Doha in a bid to bring about an end to the conflict.

The insurgents will meet in the Qatari capital with various representatives from Afghan society as part of a potential peace process today.