Widespread fighting between the Afghan security forces and the Taliban was reported in 18 provinces across Afghanistan on Saturday as delegates from the Taliban and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan started the peace negotiation talks in Doha, Qatar.
The Afghan Ministry of Defense (MoD) on Saturday said that the Taliban staged attacks on Afghan security forces in 18 provinces since last night.
The majority of the attacks were reported in Balkh, Jawzjan, Faryab, Ghor, Badghis, Herat, Ghazni and Uruzgan provinces.
Meanwhile, the Taliban in a statement said that as part of a goodwill gesture, the group on Saturday released 22 Afghan soldiers in Helmand province.
Local officials in northern Afghanistan have said that last night the Taliban launched attacks in Balkh and Jawzjan provinces.
Fighting was also reported in Faryab:
“The Taliban today attacked the security forces in Shireen Tagab district, but no casualties were sustained by the security forces. In recent days, the Taliban had no military victories on the battlefield,” said Naqibullah Fayeq, the governor of Faryab province.
“The Taliban want to show their military power during the negotiations, they want to show that if you do not accept our demands, then we have the capacity to attack at any time and at any place,” said Lotufullah Mashal, a former spokesman for the National Directorate of Security (NDS).
The Taliban also launched attacks on Ghor, Badghis and Herat provinces.
“Over the past 24 hours, the Taliban group launched attacks on Afghan security and defense forces in over 15 provinces of the country, but the Afghan security and defense forces repelled the Taliban’s attacks and inflicted heavy losses on the group,” said Rohullah Ahmadzai, a spokesman for the Ministry of Defense.
Attacks were also reported in Uruzgan, Kunduz and Helmand provinces.
“The armed opponents launched attacks on the security and defense forces, but the Taliban were repelled by the Afghan Air Force, which resulted in the killing of at least five Taliban fighters,” said Riaz Rabbani, the head of the Kunduz provincial council.
“Armed opponents launched attacks, but the Afghan security and defense forces repelled the attacks,” said Zargai Ebadi, a spokesman for the Uruzgan governor.
Afghans hope that a ceasefire is announced in the intra-Afghan talks.