On August 20, the Taliban leadership rejected a government offer of ceasefire, declaring the group would continue to carry out attacks. On the same day, Taliban militants ambushed three buses carrying 200 people traveling for a holiday. Some 160 of the hostages have reportedly since been released. According to the government, negotiations for the release of the remaining hostages (including some 20 police officers and soldiers) are underway.
In June, the Taliban accepted a government ceasefire over the three-day Eid al-Fitr festival. However, in recent weeks the group has launched a series of violent attacks, notably on the city of Ghazni (southwest of Kabul) where hundreds of people (security forces, civilians, and insurgents) were killed.
The security environment in Afghanistan remains complex. Although travel is permissible in some areas, other areas should be considered strictly off limits. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel.
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