Charles Cleveland, a spokesperson for the Resolute Support (RS) mission in Afghanistan, has warned that the war will intensify next fighting season as the Taliban have already started preparing for it.
“The Taliban’s public statements that they are going to reduce the civilian casualty toll and protect infrastructure - the facts on the ground dispute that and the facts on the ground highlight that they just indiscriminately (carry out) violence against civilians and Afghans,” he said.
According to RS, out of 98 foreign terrorist groups around the world, 20 of them are active along the Afghanistan-Pakistan defacto border and that 13 international terrorist groups are active in the country.
RS statistics show that the number of Daesh fighters decreased to 1,000 of which 700 are in Nangarhar province and the rest in Kunar province.
Cleveland said that Daesh controlled 11 districts at the start of 2016 but are now active in only three districts.
“There is a narrative that says that the Taliban is making the most progress against ISK or Daesh and that is simply false, that is absolutely not true. What we saw in 2016, was the government of Afghanistan and the security services assisted by the United States being able to make significant progress against ISK or Daesh,” he said.
A number of parliament members (MPs) meanwhile urged government to eliminate the insurgents this winter.
“I think that Daesh will come to Afghanistan next year as they are defeated in Syria and Iraq. Pakistan also will provide more support for Taliban to intensify the war in Afghanistan,” said Mirwais Nijrabi, an MP.
Taliban recently supported the trilateral meeting in Moscow between Russia, Pakistan and China, where they agreed to cooperate to have Taliban leaders names removed from the United Nations (UN) sanctions list. Afghanistan government however sharply criticized the meeting as it was not consulted.