After the Taliban announced the resumption of its ‘operations’ against Afghan forces, Afghanistan’s Minister of Defence said that they would start attacking the militant group if it doesn’t stop attacks within a week. The Taliban ended the partial truce with the Afghan government last week but has continued holding back attacks on international troops.
Defence Minister Asadullah Khalid said in a statement that Afghan forces will remain in defence mode until the end of this week because of the peace agreement. But Khalid warned that Afghan troops will “target the enemy everywhere” if the Taliban do not stop attacks by the end of the week.
The Taliban ended the partial truce following ‘reduction in violence’ pact that led to the signing of the peace deal with the United States in Doha. Days after the peace deal was signed between the United States and the Taliban, the latter demanded the release of prisoners which Afghan President Ashraf Ghani refused. Ghani said that the prisoner swap could be included in the agenda of intra-Afghan talks but “cannot be prerequisite for talks”.
Afghan President's statement came against the backdrop of the struggles faced by the American negotiators in steering Kabul administration and Taliban towards peace talks. After countless meetings, Ghani said that the partial truce will continue with the goal of reaching a full ceasefire but declined to release the Taliban prisoners citing the “right and self-will” of Afghan citizens.
“There is no commitment to releasing 5,000 prisoners. This is the right and the self-will of the people of Afghanistan. It could be included in the agenda of the intra-Afghan talks, but cannot be a prerequisite for talks,” said Ghani.
Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump said that the Taliban could “possibly” overrun the US-backed Afghanistan government after foreign troops withdraw from the country as a part of the deal. At a White House press conference on March 6, Trump was asked if the Taliban could eventually seize power from the Afghan government, the President said that “it is not supposed to happen that way but it possibly will.”
(With inputs from agencies)