Amid the ongoing efforts to start the peace negotiations in Doha, the Taliban and the Afghan government are blaming each other for conducting big operations against each other and ramping up violence.
The Afghan government said the Taliban has initiated at least 7,000 military attacks over the last six months, which have killed and wounded nearly 3,500 civilians. But the Taliban rejected these numbers, saying that the government’s major operations in nine provinces have increased the conflicts with the group.
Bamiyan and Panjshir, which are among most secure provinces in the country, have witnessed Taliban attacks in some of areas parts in the last two days.
Violence is increasing much faster than the progress made in the Doha talks, where advance teams called "contact groups" are still trying to agree the procedural rules as well as the agenda of the direct peace negotiations.
“At least 7,000 offensive moves have been initiated (the Taliban) from the first of Hamal (March 22) to the 30 of Sunbula (September 20) and at least 3,500 of our countrymen were martyred and injured,” the Interior Ministry’s spokesman Tariq Arian said.
The Defense Ministry said the government forces are in "active defense" status against the Taliban—which allows them to respond to the Taliban if the insurgent group conduct attacks on Afghan forces outposts.
“The Taliban has continued their attacks against the security and defense forces of Afghanistan in different parts of Afghanistan and the Afghan forces have defended the attacks within the framework of active defense,” Defense Ministry spokesman Rohullah Ahmadzai said.
At least 24 provinces of the country have been affected by violence over the last few days, according to local officials.
“A group of six Taliban fighters attacked security forces outposts in Onaba district on Tuesday morning but were faced with the people’s defense,” Panjshir governor’s spokesman Mansoor Onabi said.
“In order to show that they (the Taliban) are strong at the negotiating table, they attacked even the most secure provinces of Bamiyan and Panjshir,” said Daud Amin, a military affairs analyst.
The rise in violence comes amid efforts by the negotiating teams of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban in Doha to agree on procedural rules and the agenda for the direct negotiations.
Two members of the Afghanistan negotiating team spoke to TOLOnews about the current situation:
“We feel the pain, deeply. That’s why we are making efforts to achieve an agreement that is in favor of the Afghan nation,” said Farooq Majroh, a member of the Afghan republic's negotiating team.
“The continuation of violence is not acceptable at all; therefore, a ceasefire is a priority for the negotiating team of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan,” said Rasul Talib, a member of the Afghan republic's negotiating team.
Statistics by the Ministry of Interior Affairs indicate that at least 98 civilians were killed and 230 others were wounded in Taliban attacks in 24 provinces in the last two weeks as violence increases in the country amid the ongoing peace efforts.
“The Taliban has inflicted the casualties on our countrymen in 24 provinces and the most casualties have been in Takhar and Nangarhar provinces,” said Tariq Arian, spokesman for the Ministry of Interior Affairs.
The Taliban has rejected the figures provided by the ministry.
A security source told TOLOnews that an average of 30 security force members have been killed daily in Taliban attacks over the last two weeks.