Acting Defense Minister Assadullah Khalid on Sunday said the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) will end their defensive stance by the end of this week, criticizing the Taliban for “breaching” their commitments during the reduction in violence period.
Khalid, who appeared in a recorded video with the acting Minister of Interior Gen. Massoud Andarabi and the acting head of the National Directorate of Security Ahmad Zia Saraj, said Afghan forces have given sacrifices in Taliban attacks during reduction in violence.
Figures by the Afghan government show that 22 security force members and nine civilians were killed in security incidents, mostly Taliban attacks, in 12 provinces during the weeklong reduction in violence from February 21 to February 28.
“Up until this moment that I am speaking, Afghan forces have been in defense mode respecting the (US-Taliban) deal and following the president’s decree… We will stay in defense mode until the end of this week, otherwise, we will chase the enemy anywhere in any hideout they are,” Khalid said. “The current status (of the Taliban) is not acceptable to Afghan security forces.”
Khalid said the plan was to end the reduction in violence with a ceasefire but the Taliban “did not abide by the agreement” by continuing their attacks.
“Regrettably, the reduction in violence week, we could not reach a ceasefire and the enemy continued their attacks in different parts of the country in which there were military and civilian casualties,” he said.
Figures show that during reduction in violence week, Kandahar, Kabul, Helmand, Uruzgan, Balkh, Kapisa, Samangan, Farah, Ghazni, Logar and Laghman provinces faced security incidents.
According to a TOLOnews hotline, the highest number of security incidents during the reduction in violence week was eight in a day, while the lowest was two.
At the end of the reduction in violence week, the US and the Taliban signed an agreement in Doha, Qatar, on February 29 while a joint Afghan-US declaration was announced in Kabul on the same day. Based on these two documents, the intra-Afghan talks should begin on March 10.