No less than 30 Afghan soldiers went missing in the southeastern Ghazni city after the Taliban attacked a national army outpost overnight, Tolo news reported. A provincial council member Khaliqdad Akbari said that the Taliban attacked an outpost of the Afghan National Army in Ghazni province on Friday night that led to hours of heavy clashes between the two sides. The clashes continued until Saturday morning, Akbari added.
Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesperson for the Taliban confirmed on Twitter that they attacked a large garrison and a checkpoint in the Arzoo area of Ghazni province. According to the Tolo news, violence has increased in Afghanistan ahead of the May 21 withdrawal of US and allied troops. The news channel estimates that 226 Afghan civilians and military personnel have been killed in Taliban attacks in 24 provinces since April 14.
On Friday, the representatives of the extended "Troika", comprising the US, Russia, China, and Pakistan met in Doha and discussed ways to support intra-Afghan negotiations and help the parties reach a negotiated settlement, along with a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire.
"We expect the Taliban to fulfill its counter-terrorism commitments, including preventing terrorist groups and individuals from using Afghan soil to threaten the security of any other country; not hosting these groups and preventing them from recruiting, training, and fundraising. We expect the Afghan government to continue counterterrorism cooperation with the international community," the group of countries said in a joint statement.
They reiterated the call on all parties in Afghanistan to reduce the level of violence in the country and on the Taliban not to pursue a Spring offensive.
The Governments of the United States of America, the Russian Federation, the People’s Republic of China, and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan during the Extended “Troika” held to negotiate and comprehend peaceful settlement in Afghanistan released their joint statements in relevance to rendezvous with representatives of the Islamic Republic negotiating team and of the Taliban. They called on the Afghan Taliban to “fulfil its counterterrorism commitments” and to ensure that no terrorist organisations use the Afghan soil to harm any other country.
The group had met on Friday to “discuss ways to support intra-Afghan negotiations and help the parties reach a negotiated settlement and a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire”. In a group statement, the nations established,
"“We expect the Taliban to fulfil its counterterrorism commitments, including preventing terrorist groups and individuals from using Afghan soil to threaten the security of any other country; not hosting these groups and preventing them from recruiting, training, and fundraising. We expect the Afghan government to continue counterterrorism cooperation with the international community.”
The Troika also called on all the parties in the war-torn country to reduce violence and urged the Taliban to not pursue a spring offensive. It reaffirmed that
“Any peace agreement must include protections for the rights of all Afghans, including women, men, children, victims of war, and minorities, and should respond to the strong desire of all Afghans for economic, social and political development including the rule of law".
Constant stir in figures of violent episodes in Afghanistan had led US President Joe Biden’s administration to launch a review of a deal signed between Washington and the Taliban last year that paved the way for the withdrawal of all American troops.
(with inputs from ANI)