Afghanistan: Dozens Killed in Clashes Between Taliban, Security Forces

At least three dozen people have died in clashes this week between Afghan security forces and Taliban insurgents, local authorities confirmed on Friday.

A local government spokesman in northeastern Takhar province told Voice of America (VOA) that jihadists stormed a military base in Khwaja Bahauddin district early Thursday morning, killing 14 Afghan forces and wounding four others.

In another insurgency on Wednesday evening, insurgents launched an assault several checkpoints in eastern Nangarhar province, murdering at least six security personnel.

Meanwhile, Afghan forces killed six Taliban rebels and injured many others in Logar and Wardak provinces, according to an Afghan group which monitors violence across the war-torn country.

The latest round of deadly violence took place as U.S.-backed efforts to reach a peace agreement with the Taliban have all but collapsed over Kabul’s refusal to release political prisoners.

Earlier this week, four people were killed and a further 13 wounded after a series of explosions targeting government agencies in Afghanistan. One of the casualties from the attack was high-ranking Education Ministry employee Abdul Baqi Amin, director of the Scientific Council of the Ministry of Education after an explosive was hidden inside his car.

Meanwhile, Tuesday saw over a dozen rockets strike the capital of Kabul, wounding at least ten people, including children, and forcing a number of foreign embassies to go into lockdown.

In a televised speech on Thursday, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani called on the Taliban to cease hostilities and re-engage in peace talks, arguing his government had removed “all obstacles” to a further breakdown. However, the dispute centers around Ghani’s refusal to release 320 Taliban prisoners until the caliphates free more of the thousands of Afghan soldiers taken hostage.

“We have opened the way for a fair peace,” said Ghani. “In this regard, we have not only shown our will and commitment but also we have taken practical steps toward achieving that; Taliban prisoners release and conveying consultative peace Loya Jirga are notable instances of our efforts.”

“We yearn for peace in which our youth engaged in building their country,” he continued. “We will bring a peace that all ethnicities of Afghanistan could live together in peace and security and strive for the excellence and progress of the country.”

Under the proposed peace deal reached in February, both sides agreed to release their prisoners, 5,000 militants held by the government and 1,000 government and military personnel held by the Taliban. The U.S. is also seeking to recruit Taliban insurgents to help fight Islamic State militants in Afghanistan, despite the two organizations being ideologically aligned to a similar form of Sunni Islam.

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