The recent rise in violence by the Taliban, and the government’s change to "offense mode," has added another layer of complexity to the peace efforts and has left them more fragile than ever in their two-year history, according to analysts and politicians, who fear deadly consequences if the situation continues.
Former president Hamid Karzai in a statement on the Taliban attack in Paktia on Thursday morning--in which that five civilians were killed--said that fueling the war would have deadly consequences and that the warring sides should expedite efforts for peace.
“The only way out of the current crisis and the only way to achieve enduring peace in the country is the earliest start of the intra-Afghan negotiations,” Karzai said in the statement.
In the last three days, at least 60 civilians have been killed in three attacks in Kabul, Nangarhar and Paktia.
The deputy head of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, Naeem Nazari, said the increase in civilian casualties is concerning.
“Unfortunately, Taliban attacks, civilian casualties and violence are increasing day by day in Afghanistan. Civilian casualties have been high in Ramadhan regretfully, compared to the previous month,” said Nazari.
Others, meanwhile, see the political tension as a key reason for consistent delays in the peace efforts.
“The main gap is in the delay in agreement between the two teams (Ghani and Abdullah’s teams). These two teams should make an agreement as soon as possible so that peace negotiations get started,” said Sayed Azim Kebarzani, an MP.
The Office of the National Security Council blamed the Taliban for the rise in violence in the country.
“Taliban had claimed to release 1,000 prisoners of the Afghan forces. They disrupted the process intentionally and want it to fail,” the NSC spokesman Javid Faisal said. “We are not obliged to release Taliban prisoners despite their violence until they release our prisoners.”
A spokesman for the Ministry of Interior Affairs, Tariq Arian, said the Taliban “killed hundreds of civilians” in recent weeks.
“The security and defense forces also switched to offensive mode and will give their response anywhere,” Arian said.