Afghan gov’t, Taliban exchange blame for uptick in violence amid peace talks
Kabul, Sep 21 (efe-epa).- The Afghan government and the Taliban on Monday blamed each other for an uptick of violence in the country as peace negotiations continued in the Qatari city of Doha.
Rohullah Ahmadzai, a defense ministry spokesman, told Efe: “The Taliban group has continued their attacks in various parts of the country against the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces and Afghan forces have repelled these attacks.”
He said forces loyal to the Afghan government inflicted heavy casualties on the Taliban, but fell short of providing further detail.
Interior ministry spokesman Tariq Arian told Efe that the Taliban had killed 98 civilians in the last two weeks.
He added: “230 other civilian countrymen have been injured in these terrorist attacks.”
Most of the civilian casualties occurred in the eastern province of Nangarhar and the northeastern province of Takhar although Arian said the Taliban had launched attacks in 24 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces.
The most recent attack took place in Gizab, in the southern province of Uruzgan, where clashes have been ongoing for three days.
The spokesman for regional authorities there, Zargai Ebadi, said: “A large number of Taliban fighters attacked Gizab district from three different directions and during the past two days 14 members of the security forces have been martyred.”
He added that a number of military checkpoints had been taken over by the Taliban.
However, the Taliban dismissed the accusations that they were to blame for the increase in violence.