Kabul, May 3 (EFE).- At least 20 members of the Afghan security forces were killed and many others injured on Monday after the Taliban launched multiple powerful attacks against security checkposts, a day after the United States and NATO forces began the process to withdraw their over 9,500 troops from te country.
The Afghan troops were killed in multiple attacks launched simultaneously on Sunday night in the provinces of Helmand (southwest), Herat and Fatah (west), Afghan officials said.
As a result of the Helmand attacks, “more than 10 security check posts have fallen to the Taliban and eight members of the security forces were martyred and 19 more were injured,” Attaullah Afghan, the head of Helmand Provincial Council, told EFE.
He said that fighting was still on outside the capital Lashkargah, and warned that the city could “collapse” if the government did not send additional forces.
In the neighboring Farah province, the Taliban blew up a security post by digging a tunnel and launching an attack through it, killing seven people while many others remain missing, a member of the provincial council told EFE on the condition of anonymity.
The insurgents also launched a major attack on the headquarters of the Farsi district in the western Herat province, in which at least five members of the security forces were killed and some others injured.
At the same time, the rebels also carried out two car bomb attacks against an administrative building of the district, followed by an armed attack by dozens of Taliban fighters which continued for hours, Herat governor’s spokesperson Jailani Farhad said in a statement.
Official Taliban spokesperson Qari Yusuf Ahmadi said in a statement that the group had captured 25 checkposts of the security forces in different parts of the Helmand province. He also claimed responsibility for the offensive in Farah and Herat.
The Afghan defense ministry said that at least 90 insurgents had been killed and 73 injured during the counter-attacks and air strikes carried out by Afghan forces to suppress the offensive in 10 of the 34 Afghan provinces.
The Taliban have significantly ramped up attacks across the country just a day after the US and NATO forces began pulling out.
During this final phase of withdrawal, nearly 2,500 US forces and around 7,000 NATO forces are expected to quit the country ahead of Sep. 11, which marks two decades of war between Washington and the Taliban.
As per the Doha peace agreement signed between the two sides in February 2020, the foreign troops were supposed to pull out by May 1, 2021, and the Taliban has denounced US President Joe Biden’s decision to delay the pullout as a violation of the agreement, threatening of consequences.
“The Mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (as the Taliban addresses itself) will now await what decision the leadership (…) takes in light of the sovereignty, values and higher interests of the country, and will then take action accordingly,” Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement.EFE