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Afghanistan: violence surges amid peace talks

Reports of clashes, suicide attacks across Afghanistan, as China, Russia host peace talks

Shadi Khan Saif   | 25.10.2019
Afghanistan: violence surges amid peace talks


KABUL, Afghanistan

Afghanistan is witnessing intense clashes between government forces and Taliban insurgents, even as various countries are trying to reinvigorate peace talks in different world capitals. 

In a major security advancement, Afghan forces on Friday said they have recaptured Darqad district from the Taliban, after killing over 50 insurgents. The Taliban, on the other hand, claimed to have executed 56 attacks, over past 24 hours in 21 provinces of the country. 

On Friday, a suicide bomber blew himself up next to a convoy of security personnel in Jalalabad city, the capital of eastern Nangarhar province, claiming five lives, including two civilians, an official told media. 

Separately, Afghan government officials in eastern Nangarhar province claimed having captured 70 Daesh also known as ISIS terrorists, including some foreigners. 

A defense ministry statement said security forces conducted a clearing operation in Darqad, located in northern Takhar province, bordering Tajikistan. It was overrun by Taliban last month. 

The statement said that 50 Taliban insurgents were killed and dozens more were wounded in the operation. The ministry claimed that security forces have seized a number of vehicles and recovered huge cache of arms and ammunition.

Earlier on Wednesday, Afghan forces had captured the Taliban's long-held strategic bastion of Dand-e-Ghori, in northern Afghanistan after killing scores of insurgents. 

The country’s defense ministry said in a statement that dozens of Taliban fighters, including key regional commanders and shadow administrators, were killed in Baghlan province housing the restive Dand-e-Ghori area. The area is key to the Taliban’s operations in rest of the northern Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, the Taliban claimed that they have killed 136 Afghan security personnel and eight foreign soldiers in 56 attacks in 21 provinces over past 24 hours. There was, however, no independent confirmation, to the claim made by Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid on Twitter on Friday. 

The Afghan government forces also claimed to have destroyed a key Daesh or ISIS stronghold in Nangarhar. 

“Six Taliban members surrendered along with 18 (male) Daesh members, most of whom were Afghans. Three of these fighters were foreign nationals. And 19 women were also foreigners. One of the women is from Punjab [province of Pakistan]. There are 35 children with them,” said Shah Mahmoud Miakhel, the governor of Nangarhar province.

Last Friday, 62 worshippers were killed and dozens injured after multiple explosions rocked a mosque in the region. 

Neither the Taliban nor Daesh or ISIS have commented.

Nearly 200 people, including Taliban insurgents, security forces and civilians were killed in Baghlan and Kunduz province last month, amid ninth round of the “dead” talks between the U.S. and Taliban.

The latest surge in violence has also come amid renewed efforts by China, Russia, the EU to revive the stalled peace talks. China is hosting Taliban and Afghan delegates in a two-day meeting slated to begin on Oct. 28 in Beijing. Also, diplomats from the U.S., Russia, China and Pakistan also met in Moscow on Friday to discuss the Afghan peace process.

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