The Taliban insurgents are increasing their activities in various regions of the country despite calls from the international community and the Afghan people for a ceasefire and a reduction of violence.
On Thursday, the Afghan Ministry of Defense (MoD) said that the group's fighters had expanded their attacks to 24 provinces over the past 24 hours, including Takhar, Helmand, Uruzgan, Kunduz, Baghlan, Laghman, Paktia, Paktika, Ghazni, Logar, Maidan Wardak, Kandahar, Zabul, Herat, Farah, Badghis, Faryab, Sar-e-Pul and Badakhshan provinces.
“Massive casualties were sustained by the Taliban as a result of the counterattacks by the Afghan security and defense forces,” said Fawad Aman, a deputy spokesman for the Ministry of Defense.
The southern province of Helmand is one of the volatile regions where recent fighting has left thousands of people homeless.
Three weeks have passed since the Taliban launch a major offensive on the provincial capital, Lashkargah city.
Some families in Helmand said they still have not received the bodies of their sons who were killed while serving in the ranks of the Afghan security forces in the Babaji area of Greshk district. 17 soldiers were reportedly killed as a result of the fighting in Greshk a week ago.
“If the government failed to do something for them while they were alive, at least they should help us recover their bodies,” said Abdul Baseer, the brother of a victim.
“The Taliban managed to infiltrate and bomb the checkpoint, 17 were martyred and have been trapped there,” said Samiullah, the head of Badakhshan People’s Council.
In Uruzgan province, there are reports of fierce fighting in Dehrawod district between the Afghan security forces and the Taliban. Many families have left their homes and sought shelter on the roads.
“If the dead bodies of the martyrs are not recovered there will be no spirit to fight and defend,” said Abdul Aziz Aziz, a former member of parliament.
“We suffered massive financial damages after the war erupted in our area,” said Mohammad Nabi Aka, a resident of Dehrawod district in Uruzgan.
“We are living in a severe situation, we live under tents on the streets, we hope the government hears our voice,” said Abdul Malik, a resident of Urozgan.
“We are in Dehrawod to repel enemy attacks,” said Mohammad Khitab, the commander of the Uruzgan police.
Meanwhile, NATO’s Resolute Support Mission (RS) in Afghanistan has said that two of its forces were wounded in the southern province of Kandahar on Wednesday after their vehicle hit a roadside mine.
This is the first injury among the NATO forces in Afghanistan since the signing of the Doha peace agreement between the US and the Taliban on February 29.
Some Afghan military analysts have questioned the Afghan government’s security strategy.
“The Taliban increase attacks to achieve more leverage at the peace negotiation table,” said Daud Amin, a military expert.
The surge in violence in Afghanistan comes as the peace negotiations between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban is currently underway in Doha with the two sides struggling to finalize the procedural rules intended for the agenda of the formal talks.
Latest incidents of violence in Afghanistan:
The Defense Ministry stated that on Wednesday night in Takhar province an Afghan Air Force strike killed "12 Taliban including several of their commanders."
The airstrike was conducted in the “Hazara Qarluq" village of Baharak district, the statement said, adding that during a clash between "these Taliban" and the ANP on Monday, a "number of our police" were killed.
At least four civilians were killed and 10 others were wounded in a mortar attack in northern Faryab province on Thursday morning, local officials said.
Around 11:00am local time a mortar round landed in a market in Shareen Tagab district of the province, said Abdul Karim Yourish, a spokesman for the provincial police chief.
The Taliban on Wednesday destroyed an electricity pylon that brings power to Herat province, the office of Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS) in Herat said in a statement.
The incident happened in Kalat-e-Ghazi village in Ghoryan district on Wednesday night. The Taliban destroyed a pylon that imports electricity from Iran to Herat, the report said.
Takhar’s deputy police chief Raz Mohammad Doorandish and nearly 50 security force members were killed in clashes with the Taliban in the province on Tuesday night, local officials said on Wednesday.
“47 people (security forces members) were killed, and three or four others were wounded,” said Amir Mohammad Khaksar, an MP from Takhar, adding that “the casualties will increase.”