The U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan warned that extremist groups are planning to carry out targeted attacks against women, The Associated Press reported Friday.
According to the AP, the warning issued late Thursday did not make clear which groups were behind the planned attacks or when they were expected to occur.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed told The Associated Press on Friday that the “Taliban don’t have any plans to carry out any such attacks.”
The warning comes after peace talks in Qatar began Saturday between the Taliban and the Afghan government in an effort to create a unity government in Afghanistan and end years of war that have killed and displaced millions of people.
If a peace deal is reached between the two parties, it would be the first time in decades that a new form of governance is adopted through diplomatic means rather than through internal or foreign military force.
The peace talks have been supported by the Trump administration, which signed a deal with the Taliban in February to start a gradual withdrawal of troops in Afghanistan and to put pressure on Kabul to hand over 5,000 Taliban prisoners. In return, the administration is hoping that a unity government will prevent future terrorist attacks from being organized in the area.
The AP reported Friday that the embassy warning stated that “extremist organizations continue to plan attacks against a variety of targets in Afghanistan, including a heightened risk of attacks targeting female government and civilian workers, including teachers, human rights activists, office workers, and government employees.”
The Taliban have faced criticism for their treatment of women and girls during their five-year rule in Afghanistan, which ended in 2001 when a U.S.-led coalition ousted the regime in retaliation for the group’s sheltering of al Qaeda, which organized the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the U.S.
--Updated on Sept. 24 at 9:16 a.m.