Afghan Govt Questions Taliban’s Will for Peace

The Afghan government on Saturday expressed deep concerns over continued violence in the country, saying that there is a need for the Taliban to stop violence and make efforts for peace.

Presidential spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said that continuation of violence by the Taliban is not acceptable.

Under the US-Taliban peace agreement signed in Doha on February 29, the Taliban committed not to stage offensives on major cities and provincial capitals. But since then, the group has significantly increased attacks on Afghan forces.

“If the Taliban does not stop violence and if they do not agree on a ceasefire, no incentive would be given to them,” Sediqqi said. “The purpose of engagement of the international community with the Taliban and all other discussions that were held in Qatar and the agreement between the United States and the Taliban was aimed at stopping violence.”

“It is questionable why they have increased the level of violence while they are sitting at the table to negotiate peace. Mullah Baradar said that this day (the start of the peace talks in Doha on September 12) was a new hope for Afghan,” said Basir Salangi, a military expert.

Recently, US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad called for a swift reduction in violence in the wake of a series of deadly attacks in the country, but Afghan security agencies argue that the Taliban in defiance with their commitments in the US-Taliban peace deal have increased their attacks on major cities, highways, and military installations.

According to Afghan security officials, currently the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) are fighting the Taliban in 19 out of 34 provinces.

“The Taliban in defiance with their commitments to the peace process and the people continued their attacks on the Afghan people and the Afghan security and defense forces. Our forces are in active defense framework and are repelling their attacks,” said Rohullah Ahmadzai, spokesman for the Ministry of Defense.

“They acted totally against the agreement (US-Taliban peace deal),” said Abdullah Mohammad, an MP.

Meanwhile, Taliban spokesman in Doha, Mohammad Naeem, insisted that the group is firmly committed to the implementation of the US-Taliban peace deal.

“We are fully committed on this process and expect that the process have a positive outcome. We are committed, however, problems also exist,” Naeem told TOLOnews on Saturday.

In the latest incident of violence, at least four Afghan policemen were killed in Farah, two soldiers were killed in Balkh province and two more were killed in Kunduz provinces, local officials said.