Taliban Offensive Kills 6 in Kunduz, More Than 50 Injured

Nellie Chapman
April 15, 2019

The Taliban, who effectively control almost half the country, have continued to carry out daily attacks on Afghan security forces despite holding several rounds of talks with the United States aimed at ending the 17-year war.

Afghan security forces have killed a total of 128 members of the Taliban movement and wounded 40 more in the north, northeast and east of the country, the Afghan Defense Ministry, Interior Ministry and the National Directorate of Security said on Sunday.

The US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad has condemned the announcement of spring offensive by Taliban as he called on Pakistan, Qatar, and other nations to condemn the announcement as well, Afghan media reported on Saturday.

"All sides must end unnecessary violence, and instead engage in Intra-Afghan dialogue which leads to negotiations on a political settlement and a roadmap to end the war this year".

"Our jihadi obligation has not yet ended", the Taliban said.

Taliban militants in Afghanistan on Saturday launched a multi-pronged attack against government interests across the country as part of its annual spring offensive, resulting in dozens of deaths. "The Afghan and world religious scholars have clearly said that the war in Afghanistan has no religious legitimacy and its continuance has no legitimate judgment".

The announcement is something the militant group does every year, even though Taliban attacks never really ceased during the harsh winter months.

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This comes as the United States and the Taliban concluded 16 days of talks in the Qatari capital Doha last month.

The Taliban has long refused to speak officially with Kabul, dubbing the government a "puppet" of the West, and the group has insisted that government officials are attending only in a "personal capacity".

Mohammad Yusouf Ayubi, head of the provincial council in Kunduz, said at least six people were killed and more than 50 were wounded as the insurgents attacked from multiple directions just after midnight. The militants captured Ghazni city, the capital of eastern Ghazni government, for days in 2018, besides gaining grounds in several districts, but failed to capture any province or important district.

Nangarhar Gov. Shahmahmood Miakhel said Afghan forces repelled the attack after reinforcements arrived.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement in which he said that "tens of soldiers and police were killed and injured".

US President Donald Trump was reported a year ago to be planning to withdraw about half of the 14,000 US forces in Afghanistan, adding pressure to secure a peace agreement with the Taleban to prevent the country collapsing.

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