Following the failure of peace talks, amid international demands to minimize bloodshed, fighting between the Afghan government and the Taliban has intensified.
During a religious ceremony in Afghanistan's eastern Kunar province, a rocket struck the provincial governor's compound, wounding at least 16 children, according to local officials, who blamed Taliban insurgents.
The governor of Kunar, Iqbal Sayeed, said a Taliban rocket hit the compound's hall during a holy Koran recitation competition.
According to Sayeed, at least 16 children, three Afghan security force members, and religious affairs officials were injured, with some of the children in critical condition.
The Taliban, who have been battling to destabilize the foreign-backed Afghan government since being deposed by US-led troops in late 2001, said they were aware of the incident and were looking into it.
Since US President Joe Biden announced plans to withdraw American combat troops from Afghanistan by September 11, the Taliban has stepped up attacks on Afghan security forces, according to the Afghan government.
Attacks have increased
According to government officials, more than a hundred Afghan civilians and security forces have been killed in combat in the last ten days, with many more injured.
On Monday, a roadside bomb exploded near an army vehicle in the eastern city of Jalalabad, injuring six people.
The Taliban government's support for al-Qaeda was a major factor in the United States' invasion of Afghanistan following the September 11, 2001 attacks.
According to a United Nations report released in January, Afghanistan could have as many as 500 al Qaeda fighters, with the Taliban maintaining a strong relationship with them.