Blast in north Afghanistan kills three Taliban security personnel

By Mohammad Yunus Yawar

KABUL (Reuters) -Three Taliban security personnel were killed when a motorcycle carrying an explosive device blew up near a military vehicle in northern Afghanistan being used in opium poppy eradication operations, an interior ministry spokesman said on Wednesday.

Protests have roiled several districts in the northern province of Badakhshan, where farmers object to Taliban security forces' attempts to wipe out opium cultivation - the backbone of many household incomes in impoverished Afghanistan.

"The explosion took place as the police convoy was passing for the purpose of opium poppy eradication," said interior ministry spokesman Abdul Matin Qaniee, adding that five other people were injured.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack in the provincial capital Faizabad, the group's Telegram channel said on Wednesday.

National and local Taliban administration spokespeople had said the previous day that calm had been restored to the protest-hit areas and teams sent from the national and provincial capital had held discussions with locals.

The protests, which began late last week, have resulted in the deaths of two people. The Taliban said they were considering providing financial compensation to the victims' families.

The Taliban have said they are seeking to restore order and security to the war-torn nation after taking over in 2021 as foreign forces withdrew.

Nevertheless, attacks have continued and the local branch of the militant Islamic State group, as well as resistance groups, have claimed responsibility for attacks on Taliban security forces.

(Reporting by Mohammad Yunus Yawar in Kabul and Charlotte Greenfield in Islamabad; Additional reporting by Yomna Ehab and Ahmed Tolba in Cairo; Editing by Mark Heinrich and Bill Berkrot)