After the Taliban’s refusal to negotiate with Afghanistan government’s 21-member team, at least 11 soldiers and police were killed in attacks which can further hamper the peace plan. The Defence Ministry said in a statement that Taliban insurgents attacked the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces outposts in Arghandab district of Zabul province.
The ministry said that Afghan forces actively defended itself against the attack and inflicted heavy casualties to Taliban insurgents but lost six soldiers of the national army in the attack. “The Ministry of Defense leadership expresses condolences to the families of those martyred and pray for the souls of the martyrs,” said the ministry in a statement.
Another attack took place on the outskirts of northern Baghlan province in which at least five members of security forces were killed and left six others injured, said a provincial official. The council members blamed the Taliban for the attack but the militant group has not claimed the responsibility of the attack. The continued attacks further jeopardise the ongoing efforts to revive peace talks as the Taliban has already refused to proceed with the negotiations.
Ministry of Peace Affairs announced the team on March 26 and the special envoy to the United States, Zalmay Khalilzad, praised the team calling it “inclusive”. The team is being led by Masoom Stanekzai, former chief of the National Directorate of Security and supporter of President Ashraf Ghani, and includes other politicians as well as former officials.
The Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid said that the Afghan government violated the agreement with the US by announcing the team and claimed that all sides have not agreed to the composition of the team. Mujahid further added that in order to reach “true and lasting peace”, the team put forth by the country should be agreed upon by all effective Afghan sides for a wholesome representation.
(Image Credit: AP)