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60 security personnel killed as countrywide violence intensifies

AT News

KABUL: Taliban’s attacks have been continuing in at least 16 provinces since the Persian New Year began on March 20.

Initial figures suggest that more than 60 security forces have been killed during the attacks, with the government condemning the attacks as violation of peace agreement by the Taliban.

“The barbaric killings by Taliban don’t show the group’s honesty. We have been adhered for goodwill,” Wahid Omar, President Ghani’s adviser said Sunday.

Ministry of Defense says that army is in “active defensive” position and has suppressed Taliban in the provinces of Zabul and Kunduz.

“Taliban attacked on the districts of Dahst-e-Archi and Khan Abad of Kunduz province and had planned to attack the Imam Saheb district as well. Likewise, they had planned to launch attacks in Zabul province as well as in the Khakrez district of Kandahar province. But they suffered heavy casualties,” said Fawad Aman, a spokesman of the defense ministry.

Taliban’s attacks have been continuing in the provinces of Nangarhar, Ghazni, Herat, Zabul, Helmand, Kunduz, Kandahar, Samangan, Balkh, Jawzjan, Faryab, Baghlan, Badghis and Ghor.

“The Afghan security forces have been in defensive position against Taliban attacks, killing 24 attackers and injuring two. Unfortunately, four of our troops were also killed and wounded,” said Bashir Rashid, police chief for Kunduz province.

But Friday’s attack in Zabul province that killed 11 soldiers and six police officers, is one of deadliest attacks since the Taliban signed peace deal with the United States in late February.

The government says about counter-attack operations in different provinces.

But some lawmakers criticize the government for not containing Taliban attacks.

“After that attack (Zabul attack), what does this operation mean? What is the job of intelligence agencies? Why they failed to contain the attack?” said Zahra Tokhi, a representative of Zabul province in the parliament.

Sources close to Taliban say that the militants intensified attacks after government refused their demand of release of 5,000 prisoners.

“The delay in release of Taliban prisoners caused the intra-Afghan talks not be held and the war intensified,” said Khalil Safi, from Paghwash organization.

President Ghani has signed a decree to release 5,000 Taliban prisoners, but says the militants should give him guarantee that the freed fighters would not go back to war fronts.

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