On Sunday, the second day of the reduction in violence pact in Afghanistan, two attacks on Afghan forces were instigated by the Taliban, say local officials, who say both happened in the southern province of Kandahar. And at least four other incidents in various provinces were reported to TOLOnews and confirmation is pending.
The week-long reduction in violence started on Saturday, Feb. 22.
Previously, according to security officials, Afghanistan witnessed around 70 anti-security incidents each 24-hour day by the Taliban.
On Saturday, the first day of the reduction in violence, the number of incidents reported was reduced to 8-10.
The two incidents in Kandahar on Sunday included an attack by the Taliban on an Afghan forces convoy in Shah Wali Kot district, and in the same district a mine exploded near an armored vehicle of government forces. Both had no casualties.
“Overall, we did not have a big incident, but of course we should wait for reports from every district and every area,” Sediqqi said.
Some people in different provinces of the country welcomed the reduction in violence pact with dancing and singing. They called for a ceasefire across Afghanistan.
“This can open a way for peace, but peace should be enduring,” said Abdullah Afghan, a Paktia resident.
“We are excited, and we want an enduring peace. We call on our Talib brothers to join the peace process,” said Fatima Afghan, a Khost resident.
“We are tired of war. We have had enough war. We want a durable peace,” said Mohammad Yusuf, a Nangarhar resident.
TOLOnews has received over 500 messages to a dedicated Whatsapp number since Saturday morning from Afghans in different parts of the country who have reported security incidents or expressed their gratitude about the reduction in violence in their areas.
Through this Whatsapp number, people have reported security incidents in Balkh, on the Baghlan-Takhar highway, in the Nusai district of Badakhshan, and in Faryab and Uruzgan provinces.
Reports from the Whatsapp number are as follows:
Day 2 of the reduction in violence, Feb. 23: 12am to 3pm
• Clashes are ongoing in Zare district, Balkh province.
• Clashes were reported in Nusai district, Badakhshan province, from midnight on Sunday.
• Taliban established checkpoints on the Takhar-Baghlan highway. They were searching for military men.
• A roadside bomb blast happened in Qaisar district, Faryab province, this morning (Feb. 23). Casualties reported.
• The Taliban attacked an Afghan forces convoy in Shah Wali Kot district, Kandahar. One killed, one wounded.
Taliban attacks on the first day, Saturday, Feb. 22, in the province of Uruzgan were reported by Shah Rasul, an Army soldier in the province:
• At 2:30 am on Feb. 22, the Taliban attacked checkpoints in Chinartu district, Uruzgan. One policeman was wounded, says Shah Rasul.
• At 1 am on Feb. 22, some Taliban members planted a mine in an area in Tarinkot city. One police member was killed in this explosion, says Shah Rasul.
• From 3 am to 5 am there was heavy shooting at army checkpoints and bases in Khas Uruzgan district on Feb. 22, Shah Rasul says.
“Over the last two days, the Taliban have launched some attacks in the provinces of Helmand, Kandahar, Balkh, Kapisa and Uruzgan on bases in districts and on police and army checkpoints,” said Nusrat Rahimi, a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior. “Unfortunately, five members of the security forces were martyred in these incidents and 13 others were wounded.”
The US and the Taliban will sign a peace deal if the reduction in violence agreement is kept for seven days. This signed peace deal is expected to be followed by the start of intra-Afghan negotiations.
“Open discussions on civil rights, freedom of the press, women’s rights and political participation and open religious discussions are the issues that should be raised (in talks) with the Taliban,” said Shahgul Rezaee, an MP.
“I think that an Islamic government that is acceptable to the people of Afghanistan and the international community is a red line for the Taliban,” said Sami Yusufzai, a freelance journalist.