NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday said there is a need for a political settlement to end the conflict in Afghanistan.
"The security situation in Afghanistan remains deeply challenging, and requires a negotiated settlement. NATO will continue to support Afghanistan, including with funding; civilian presence; and out-of-country training,” tweeted Stoltenberg after speaking on the phone with President Ashraf Ghani.
This comes as the Afghan National Security and Defense Forces (ANDSF) continue to fight the Taliban in at least 20 provinces.
The Taliban has captured the center of Barg-e-Matal district in Nuristan province in eastern Afghanistan, and reportedly also attacked Taluqan city, the center of northern Takhar province yesterday.
“The situation is getting worse in Taluqan city day by day, the war and violence have increased,” said Zabihullah, a resident in Taluqan.
“The Taliban are committing all sorts of atrocities in their areas which are very shocking,” said Abdullah Qarloq, the governor of Takhar.
Security sources said that at least 20 civilians and military personnel have been killed in the past week in fighting in Takhar.
“We have statistics which show that 149 civilians and military personnel were transferred to the hospital,” said Dr. Hassan Basij, the head of Takhar's hospital.
New clashes have also been reported in the northern province of Kapisa.
“25 Taliban fighters were killed and wounded during the battle, four members of the public uprising forces and two civilians were also killed,” said Shaqayeq Shorish, a spokesman for the Kapisa police.
Fighting was also reported between the security forces and the Taliban in eastern Afghanistan.
“With the fall of Barg-e-Matal, the Taliban are now moving toward Kamdish district which borders Pakistan,” said Ismail Atikan, MP.
Meanwhile, the Taliban have confirmed that Abdul Haq Omari, the son of Mohammad Nabi Omar, a member of the Taliban’s negotiating team, has been killed in a battle with the security forces in Paktia.
“Our impression, and the impression of the world, is that the war is not the solution, if the war was a solution, the Taliban would have obtained their goal during these 20 years,” said acting Defense Minister Bismillah Mohammadi.
Meanwhile, the killing of prominent Afghan comedian Khasha Zuwan Kandahari by the Taliban has sparked strong condemnation from social media users in Afghanistan.
The Taliban claimed that he had insulted the hostages and Taliban clerics and was killed during a crossfire. But footage on social media shows that the Taliban fighters arrested him, put him in a car, insulted him and threatened him with death.