Conflicts & War

Taliban launches major offensives in Afghanistan amid peace talks

By Baber Khan Sahel

Kabul, Nov 13 (efe-epa).- Taliban has launched major offensives in Afghanistan, including the capture of a district center, in the last 24 hours, according to officials on Friday, amid ongoing intra-Afghan peace talks with the government.

The insurgents seized control of the Dehrawod district in Uruzgan province, which shares the border with volatile parts of neighboring Helmand and Kandahar provinces, where the Taliban control several districts.

“After intense fighting by Taliban fighters last night, the Afghan security forces left Dehrawod district center and tactically evacuated to an army base in a nearby area,” Uruzgan governor’s spokesperson Ahmad Shah Sahel told EFE.

He said the Taliban attacked government buildings with mortars, killing three members of the security forces. Some of the mortar shells landed on nearby houses.

The number of casualties among the Taliban and civilians was not unknown.

“The Afghan security forces are currently working on plans to launch a counter attack to recapture the lost areas,” Sahel said.

Besides Dehrawod, the Taliban has also carried out large scale attacks on the Afghan forces in neighboring Helmand and Kandahar provinces.

At least 106 militants were killed in fighting between the Taliban and the security forces in Kandahar’s Sherai and Shah-Wali-Kot districts in the last 24 hours, according to a statement by the defense ministry on Friday.

In another statement, the ministry reported that at least 10 Taliban fighters were killed in insurgent attacks on multiple security forces check posts in Imam Sahib district in the northern Kunduz province.

In these overnight clashes, 12 security forces members, including two cops, were killed, an official, who asked not to be named, told EFE.

The Taliban also carried out a car bombing on Friday against a security base in Kabul province that killed two members of the security forces and wounded four others.

The spiraling violence comes at a sensitive time when representatives of the Taliban and the government have been holding peace talks in Doha since early September.

The two sides are negotiating an end to the Afghan war, raging since 2001 when the US invaded the country.

Washington brokered the intra-Afghan peace talks after the Taliban-US peace agreement signed in Doha in February.

Washington has agreed for a full withdrawal of troops in 14 months in return for security guarantees that the Taliban would not use the Afghan soil for attacks against foreign countries, particularly the US.

Moreover, the Taliban also promised not to launch large-scale attacks in urban areas, including the district centers.

However, the recent attacks raise concerns about the Taliban’s inability to keep their promises, which is seen as tactics to gain leverage in the negotiations.

The chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, Abdullah Abdullah, said on Friday that the Taliban trying to gain leverage by creating an atmosphere of terror would only prolong the conflict instead of ending it.

“The war is not the solution to the problem. No one is a winner in war and no one is a loser in inclusive peace,” he emphasized. EFE-EPA

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