More than 23 soldiers were killed in Taliban attacks on Monday as belligerent militants are waging a war of terrain and power; diplomacy seems just as much in tatters as the battlefield as a rift has launched peace negotiations into pandemonium. Perhaps, Kabul should not give benefit of the doubt to militants
KABUL: More than 23 soldiers have been killed just on Monday as Taliban militants are ratcheting up their terror campaign amid Kabul’s refusal to immediately free hundreds of insurgent prisoners.
At least 6 army soldiers were killed after Taliban insurgents stormed a security outpost in Arghandab district, Zabul. A defense ministry source said government forces repelled rebel assault and inflicted heavy toll on militants.
In another attack on residence of acting police chief of Khwaja Ghar district, Takhar, at least 13 security forces were killed.
A security official said that 4 local police forces were also killed and five wounded on Sunday in a Taliban attack in Baghlan. Police spokesman Ahmad Jawed Basharat said the attack was repelled and 12 Taliban militants were killed in the counterassault.
Zabul province saw a spike in militant activities and attacks since two weeks. In an earlier terrorist attack, 17 army soldiers had been killed after militants stormed a security outpost in Zabul capital city.
On Sunday, 32 security forces went missing and two military bases fell to Taliban militants after a coordinated attack in the Jurm district of northeastern Badakhshan province. Insurgents stormed the security bases and overran two military bases. Eight army soldiers and 24 police forces went missing in the wake of the attack.
The belligerent militants are waging a war of terrain and power again the government forces. Diplomacy seems just as much in tatters as the battlefield as a rift has launched peace negotiations into pandemonium. Perhaps, Kabul should not give benefit of the doubt to militants as the group keeps generating news demands.
In a twist in the continuing saga of peace process, the Afghan government delayed a plan to free 100 Taliban prisoners from the country’s prisons, just a while after the Taliban rejected a government peace delegation as “inconclusive”. Spokesman to the National Security Council Jawed Faisal said that no prisoner release will be happening on March 31st, a date agreed upon for a phased inmate release.
A 15-member Taliban delegation was scheduled to visit Kabul on Saturday to meet with Afghan officials about Taliban inmates. The delegates would have landed in Kabul based on a decision made in a video conference between officials and Taliban last week, setting motion for a release of 100 Taliban prisoners on humanitarian grounds by March 31 after guarantees by Taliban that the freed will stay on leash.
This is as the Afghan government has announced a 21-member committee that would hold direct peace talks with the Taliban. It is said that former intelligence chief Mohammed Masoum Stanekzai will head the committee.
The fragile Afghan peace process faced deadlocks as differences persisted between Kabul and the Taliban over a proposed exchange of prisoners. There are 12,000-15,000 inmates, including foreigners from Pakistan, Central Asia and Gulf countries, in different prisons across Afghanistan.
The Taliban have demanded the release of 5,000 of their militants in return for the release of 1,000 captives, including Afghan government officials and security personnel. Kabul insists on releasing them in phases along with intra-Afghan talks and a ceasefire in place.