The international “Kabul Process” conference began in the capital Kabul on Tuesday, June 6. Around 20 countries and international organizations are participating. The Afghan government had encouraged the Taliban to participate in the talks to find a peaceful settlement to the longstanding Afghan crisis. However, the group refused the invitation.
Very tight security has been reported in central Kabul since 07:15 (local time) on Tuesday, with most of the city completely closed to traffic since 08:45. At around 11:25, a rocket landed within an Indian envoy’s residence in Kabul’s diplomatic Green Zone; no casualties have been reported so far.
The holy month of Ramadan is currently ongoing in Afghanistan (May 26 to June 25) and has been marred by deadly terrorist attacks. On May 31, a bomb, concealed in a tank of water deliver lorry killed more than 150 people and wounded at least 400 others in Kabul. The detonation of around 1500 kg (3300 lb) of explosives took place near the German Embassy, in the center of Kabul’s diplomatic quarter and the highly secured Green Zone. The attack is potentially the deadliest terrorist incident to hit the country in the past decade. Another attack followed on June 3, during the funeral for some of the May 31 victims. As many as 20 people were killed and dozens others injured. The Taliban has denied responsibility for both bombings. The Afghan intelligence services believe Haqqani - an Islamic State (IS)-affiliated insurgent group based in Afghanistan and suspected of having ties with Pakistan - to be responsible.
The Taliban have, however, had threatened to attack Kabul if Afghan President Ashraf Ghani went forward with his decree, made on June 1, to hang 11 Taliban and Haqqani prisoners.
As always, due to major security concerns, individuals throughout Afghanistan are urged to keep a safe distance from large gatherings, military convoys, government buildings, and crowded urban areas. Many Western governments advise their citizens against travel to the country due to the high threat of kidnapping and terrorism, including frequent attacks against Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, local civilians and politicians, and individuals working in the humanitarian and reconstruction fields. Travel to the country should only be undertaken with proper security protocols in place.