Conflicts & War

Taliban behind 99 percent attacks this year, Afghan intelligence says

Kabul, Dec 29 (efe-epa).- The Taliban are behind 99 percent of the terror attacks carried out within the past year in Afghanistan, including a recent wave of almost daily targeted killings that have rocked the country, the principal intelligence agency of the country said on Tuesday.

In 2020 “out of 18,200 attacks, 99 percent were directly carried out by the Taliban and remaining one percent were carried out by other groups including Daesh (Islamic State),” Zia Saraj, director of the National Directorate of Security (NDS), told the upper house of the parliament.

The figures include armed attacks against military bases and checkposts manned by security forces, suicide bombings, explosions through improvised explosive devices and targeted assassinations in urban areas.

At least 3,600 insurgents involved in the attacks were arrested by the agency this year, out of which 270 were directly linked to targeted killings in cities and the majority were Taliban fighters, according to the NDS.

The agency said that the rest of the suspects were IS members linked to the Haqqani Network, a group closely associated with the Taliban.

Saraj claimed that the Taliban had carried out assassinations of prominent members of the civil society in urban areas due to signing the Doha peace agreement with the United States in February, in which it pledged to reduce major attacks on cities.

“After signing of the (US-Taliban) agreement, a well-organized network of the Taliban was tasked to leave aside other things and to conduct target killings in Kabul city,” said the NDS director, adding that these were relatively simple attacks which generated a massive media impact due to being centered in cities.

According to this analysis, the new strategy also offers the rebels a position of power during the ongoing peace negotiations with the Afghan government, which are set to resume on Jan. 5 after the first round was concluded earlier this month.

However, the Taliban have repeatedly distanced themselves from the attack and told EFE on Monday that Afghan intelligence agencies were themselves planning the attacks to generate negative propaganda against the rebel group.

The almost daily assassinations of activists, journalists and prominent members of civil society led to the Afghan authorities announcing on Monday that they would double the number of police officers in the capital. EFE-EPA


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