U.S. envoy Khalilzad condemns Taliban 'reckless' offensive announcement

15 April, 2019, 13:28 | Author: Myra Gill
  • Fighters with Afghanistan's Taliban militia stand with their weapons in Ahmad Aba district in 2017

Nangarhar Governor Shahmahmood Miakhel said Afghan forces repelled the attack after reinforcements arrived.

The Taliban launches its annual offensive in spring aimed at gaining grounds to topple Afghan government.

While much of the fighting consisted of small-scale engagements, the spread of operations across most parts of the country underlined the struggle facing the Afghan government, still shut out of the peace process by the Taliban's refusal to talk to what they consider a puppet regime.

Mohammad Yusouf Ayubi, head of the provincial council in Kunduz, said at least six people were killed and more than 50 were wounded as the insurgents attacked from multiple directions just after midnight.

The announcement comes despite the United States efforts to end two decades of war in Afghanistan.

"At a time when all Afghans should come together in talks to determine a common future, a call for fighting suggests the Taliban are stuck in the ways of the past", he said.

Taliban forces attacked the northern Afghan city of Kunduz on Saturday, a day after the launch of their annual spring offensive, as fighting intensified across the country ahead of the next round of peace talks with USA representatives.

During the attack, which lasted several hours, two members of the security forces lost their lives and another eight were wounded, with two of them in critical condition, Khogyanai said.

The Taliban announced their spring offensive on Friday morning which is entitled Operation Al-Fatha - which means "victory" in Arabic.

Nangarhar: At least 27 Taliban fighters were killed in an encounter with Afghan security forces in Shirzad district in Afghanistan's Nangarhar province on Friday evening, reports Tolo news.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's palace on Saturday condemned "in the strongest words" the announcement of Operation Fath.

The security official added that the Afghan forces maintained control over the checkpoint but one police officer had died during the clashes.

The spring offensive traditionally marks the start of the so-called fighting season, though in reality fighting in recent winters has continued unabated.

Las year saw the Taliban entered landmark face-to-face talks for peace with the US, but the Kabul government has yet to be made part of these talks.

The insurgents effectively control almost half of Afghanistan and have continued to launch daily attacks on security forces despite holding several rounds of peace talks with the United States in recent months. Everyone at the Taliban's office in Qatar is removed from the list, and indications are everyone else involved in USA talks has been as well.

"The requested exemption is exclusively for travels required for participation in peace and reconciliation discussions", the UN Security Council said.



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