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Peace process risks collapse as targeted attacks flares

U.S. blames Taliban for spate of Afghan killings in unclaimed targeted attacks, while the Taliban accused U.S. of violating peace agreement, threaten ‘serious response’ to U.S. airstrikes

AT News

KABUL: The US military on Monday blamed the Taliban for a spate of assassinations of prominent Afghans in unclaimed attacks that could probably risk the collapse of the ongoing peace talks.

This is the first time Washington has directly accused the group of targeted killings and that just one day before the Afghan and Taliban negotiators to resume peace talks in Qatar, as both sides seek to end the deadly conflict in Afghanistan.

“The Taliban’s campaign of unclaimed attacks and targeted killings of government officials, civil society leaders and journalists must also cease for peace to succeed,” Colonel Sonny Leggett, Spokesman for US Forces in Afghanistan, said on Twitter.

He also brushed off the Taliban’s claim of violating US-Taliban agreement as false.

“The Taliban’s accusations that the US violated the US-Taliban agreement are false. US Forces have been clear and consistent: We will defend Afghan forces against Taliban attacks. We renew our call for all sides to reduce violence,” he added.

This is as the Taliban Spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid in a statement on twitter said US forces carried out airstrikes in Kandahar, Nangarhar and Helmand provinces.

He termed these airstrikes as violation to the Doha agreement, threatening a serious response, but US forces said they are clear and consistent to defend the Afghan forces against the Taliban attacks, and it is part of Doha accord.

The Taliban warned if the airstrikes and the operation in Kandahar were not stopped soon and continued in violation of the Doha agreement, it would have serious consequences and the responsibility would fall on the Americans.

Meanwhile, NDS Chief, Ahmad Zia Saraj said that the Taliban did not cut ties with foreign terrorists and also not reduced violence, violating their commitments to the peace deal.

Mr. Saraj said three assassinations plot to kill journalists in Kabul, Nangarhar and Khost provinces, were thwarted in recent days. The Taliban carried out more than 18,000 attacks in 2020, he said.

Recently, the Center of Afghan Journalists registered 112 cases of violence against journalists in 2020. The cases include murders, injuries, physical violence, insults and disgraces, pressures and intimidation as well as attacks and destructive acts which have been considered unprecedented.

Eight media workers including presenters, reporters, cameramen, technicians and service members lost their lives in 2020 in different provinces.

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