Sunday, 16 June, 2019

Taliban claim attack as spring offensive begins

Fighters with Afghanistan's Taliban militia stand with their weapons in Ahmad Aba district in 2017 Enlarge Image Fighters with Afghanistan's Taliban militia stand with their weapons in Ahmad Aba district in 2017. Getty Images
Steven Clarke | 15 April, 2019, 13:27

The Taliban controls or contests about half of Afghan territory, according to US military assessments.

Through this announcement, Khalilzad said, Taliban leaders demonstrate their "indifference" to the demands of Afghans across the country.

Another 25 militants were killed by the security forces and 12 more suffered wounds in the northeastern Afghan province of Badakhshan, the Defense Ministry said in a separate press release.

Trump has previously been on record expressing his wish to end the war that hit the Central Asian nation in 2001 and transformed into one of the most prolonged conflicts in United States history.

"At a time when all Afghans should come together in talks to determine a common future, a call for fighting suggests the Taliban are stuck in the ways of the past", he said.

Hours after announcing its annual spring offensive, the Taliban attempted an attack near the district governor's office.

An injured boy receives treatment at a hospital after a clash between Taliban and security forces in Kunduz province, Afghanistan, April 13, 2019.

The militant group, according to the statement, launched multi-pronged offensive with two auto bombs followed by gunfight on Friday night to capture Shirzad district in Nangarhar province, but the security forces' sharp reaction forced the insurgents to retreat.

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Later this month, Taliban officials are expected to meet with Afghanistan representatives, including some officials from the Kabul government, in the Qatari capital Doha.

The insurgents attacked a district headquarters in the eastern Nangarhar province late Friday, killing two police, said Attahullah Khogyani, spokesman for the provincial governor.

A spokesman of the Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan, Dave Butler, said the coalition forces will continue to support the Afghan forces in the fight against the Taliban as the group has chosen violence despite an "amazing" opportunity forces.

The United States is leading a push to forge a settlement with the Taliban, after almost 18 years of war, and has held several meetings with Taliban officials.

The Taliban have long refused to speak officially with Kabul, calling the government a "puppet" of the West.

The spring offensive traditionally marks the start of the so-called fighting season, though fighting nowadays continues unabated throughout the year.

"We also want to clarify that we are committed to the ongoing negotiations process and a peaceful resolution but can not remain indifferent to the military operations and ongoing crimes of the invaders and their internal supporters", Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said.

"Taliban peace interlocutors" names have been removed from the UN Security Council black list for nine months, the group's spokesman claimed on Friday.

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