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Talibancut off major highway in south, extorting truckers

AT News

KABUL: Talibaninsurgents have cut off a major highway in southern Afghanistan which connects majority of districts and towns in Paktia province and extort truckers and drivers, according to a local official.

Residents and drivers complain about new troubles they are facing along Gardiz-Dandpatan highway which has been blocked by the militants. The security situation alongside the highway has been deteriorating and the Taliban insurgents have been spreading along the highway.

Provincial council member, Taj Mohammad Mangal said the Taliban set checkpoints on the highway and extort truckers and residents.

Provincial Governor, Mohammad Halim Fedaye said that the security forces didn’t conduct operation against the Taliban as a gesture towards the intra-Afghan negotiations. He called on the Taliban to stay committed to the agreement the group has signed with the US. The US preliminary peace deal signed with the Taliban on February 29th that also paved drawdown of American soldiers, includes that the militants should reduce their violence in big cities and public areas.

The deal also let the release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners in return for the 1,000 Afghan security forces but the government officials said that many of the freed militants rejoined the insurgency.

After a longtime recrimination between the government and Taliban, both sides’ delegations’ contact team have held a couple rounds of meeting to lay out practical start for the intra-Afghan negotiations.

But the violence and insecurity are still remained vast challenges.

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