The Afghan government and the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) on Tuesday raised serious concerns over what they described as a significant surge in the number of Taliban attacks in the country, even after the group signed a peace agreement with the United States on February 29 in Doha.
According to AIHRC, at least 83 Afghan civilians were killed, 35 civilians were taken hostage and 119 others were wounded in different parts of the country following the US-Taliban peace agreement.
The human rights commission holds the Taliban responsible for 50 percent of the civilian casualties.
The AIHRC blamed other insurgent groups such as Daesh for the remaining 50 percent of casualties.
“83 were killed and 119 others were wounded--there were eight women and eight children among those killed. There were another 15 women and 16 children wounded during the violence, and another 35 people taken hostage by the Taliban during this period,” said Naeem Nazari, the deputy head of the AIHRC.
“The government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan made extensive efforts for peace, but the Taliban instead increased violence against the Afghan people. The Taliban need to stop killing Afghans to have a successful peace process and they need to agree on a lasting and nationwide ceasefire,” said Jawed Faisal, a spokesman for the Office of National Security Council.
But the Taliban in response to these allegations said that the group had no agreement with the government in Kabul about the reduction in violence. The Taliban have in the past said that they will discuss the issue of reducing violence in the intra-Afghan talks.
“We have no agreement with the (Afghan government) about halting our operations, and also this issue has not been discussed in the peace agreement with the Americans (US-Taliban peace agreement), we do not have any commitment with anyone about reducing the operations and this issue will be discussed in the intra-Afghan talks,” said Taliban’s spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.
On the US-Taliban deal, the Taliban’s spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said: “We have not done anything against the provisions of the agreement (US-Taliban agreement), no attack has been launched against the peace agreement. We are undertaking efforts for talks to reach peace, we have reduced our attacks from 100 percent to 40 percent which demonstrates our desire for peace.”
Meanwhile, Afghan acting Minister of Interior Massoud Andarabi said the Taliban missed an opportunity for peace.
“The Taliban were provided with every necessary opportunity to seize it, unfortunately, the Taliban after the end of the RIV week resumed their attacks, but we want to tell the Taliban that they will not be able to get anything through the military way,” said Massoud Andarabi, acting Minister of Interior.
Political commentators believe that the Taliban by increasing attacks want to score points in the peace talks with the Afghan government.
“The Taliban need to resort to war to score points on the political front. We are on the threshold of another round of talks, so the Taliban look to expand their war to get more points on the negotiation table,” said political analyst Saleh Mohammad Registani.
TOLOnews findings show that the Taliban has carried out 2,162 attacks against government forces following the one-week reduction in violence (RIV) that started on February 22 and led to the signing of a peace agreement between the US and the Taliban.
The findings show that the Afghan forces – who now claim to be in an active but defensive mode against the Taliban – have conducted 302 operations in response to the Taliban during this period – March 3 to April 7.