The Taliban has declared a three-day ceasefire to mark the end of Ramzan later this week. But the day before, 68 mostly Shia Hazara schoolgirls were killed and 150 others were injured in multiple blasts that targeted a Kabul school. The Taliban condemned the attack, the worst in Kabul in over a year, and denied responsibility. In similar attacks earlier, the ‘Islamic State-Khorasan Province’ had taken responsibility for attacks on minority Shia Hazaras. First Vice President Amrullah Saleh tweeted, “the so-called IS-K is an offshoot of the Talibs. Ideologically they are twins & logistically they are parasites of the same swamp. Both are sponsored to subdue us. Won’t work.”
The Taliban ceasefire is the fourth of its kind and was accompanied by warnings that enemy personnel will not be allowed to enter Taliban areas. Within hours of the announcement, a roadside explosive hit a bus on the Kabul-Kandahar highway killing at least 11 people including women and children. Violence has intensified this year, though withdrawing foreign troops have not been targeted. Two days ago, the Afghan army chief said his forces had “killed and injured 1,000″ Taliban fighters in the past week. A monitoring group has documented 222 deaths (53 civilians, 36 security personnel, 133 Taliban) in 10 provinces in the last 24 hours.