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Taliban offensive in Herat, Helmand dismays US envoy

AT News

KABUL: Taliban’s fresh attacks on the provinces of Kandahar and Helmand in the south as well as Herat province in the western Afghanistan have turned matter of concern for the United States that is hastily pulling its soldiers out of Afghanistan.

The Taliban militants who began attacks on districts just days after Washington announced to withdraw its troops after being busy in an aimless and useless war for 20 years, intensified pressures on Herat, Helmand and Kandahar especially their capitals since last week and managed to reach the gates of provincial capitals.

The US Acting Ambassador to Kabul, Ross Wilson, said Monday that the recent attacks are a matter of concern for them, but added that Afghan security forces gave good answers to the attackers.

“The attacks on the cities of Lashkar Gah, Kandahar and Herat are a matter of concern. We encouraged Afghan defense and security forces and have worked with them so that they go on through a good approach in confronting the enemy. Afghan forces did good in the past few weeks and pushed enemy back from several areas, but there are still huge problems to be resolved,” said Wilson.

He said that Taliban’s advance in northern Afghanistan that borders former Soviet republics of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan have surprised Washington.

Half of nearly 400 districts fell to Taliban in the past three months, according to reports.

Wilson accused Taliban of violating parts of a peace deal they signed with the then US government in 2020.

“Taliban remained committed to some articles of the peace agreement they signed with the US, and I think that they didn’t adhere to some parts. They did not fulfill what they had promised in fighting against terrorism, they did not attend the direct peace talks and violence was not reduced.”

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) had earlier warned that 2021 would be the deadliest year for civilians if Taliban continue attacks.

It said in a statement that 1,659 civilians were killed and some 3,500 wounded from January to June this year.

Taliban rejected the UNAMA report as unanimous and false.

President Ghani blamed the recent violence on Taliban, saying he did what he could for Afghanistan.

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