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Afghan army bases come under Taliban attack shortly after US deal

4 Mar 2020 - 16:05

Taliban militants have attacked Afghan military bases immediately after signing the so-called peace deal with the United States, Afghan source said.

An unnamed Afghan Defense Ministry official told AFP on Tuesday that the militants had conducted attacks on government forces in 13 of the country’s 34 provinces overnight.

A government statement said two soldiers were killed in one of the attacks, which happened in southern Kandahar Province.

A spokesman for the Logar Province governor, Didar Lawang, said an attack there killed five security forces.

A week-long truce between the Taliban, the United States, and Afghan forces preceded the Saturday signing of the deal between the militant group and Washington in Qatar.

The deal sets out a timetable for the foreign forces to quit Afghanistan within 14 months, subject to a pledge by the militants to hold talks with the Kabul government. The agreement calls for up to 5,000 jailed Taliban prisoners to be released in exchange for up to 1,000 Afghan government captives by March 10.

The administration of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has since rejected that demand. Ghani said on Sunday that US President Donald Trump had not asked for the release of the prisoners and that the issue had to be discussed as part of a comprehensive peace deal that includes the Kabul government.

Reacting to the development on Monday, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the reduction in violence against Afghan security forces was “over.”

Since the deal signing, the Taliban have been publicly celebrating their “victory” over the United States. The militants have long demanded the withdrawal of foreign troops.

About 2,400 US soldiers have been killed in the war. Over 100,000 Afghans have also been killed or injured since 2009, when the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan began documenting casualties.

The Taliban now control or hold influence over more Afghan territory than at any point since 2001.

Experts say, however, that it is the Afghan government and the Taliban, rather than the US and the militant group, who should address important questions on the future of Afghanistan.

Story Code: 453742

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Taghribnews (TNA)