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Afghanistan: USA registers more Taliban attacks in Kabul

The militant Islamist Taliban are increasingly attacking journalists, representatives of civil society and government officials in the Afghan capital, Kabul. According to a report by the US Inspector General for Reconstruction in Afghanistan, John Sopko, the attacks in Kabul had increased compared to the previous quarter and especially compared to the same period last year. He oversees the use of multi-billion dollar US aid in the country.

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The Taliban signed a peace agreement with the USA at the end of February 2020, which provides for the withdrawal of US troops. In return, the Taliban pledged to reduce acts of violence in the country. However, many US military officials distrust the militia’s pledges to cut ties with al-Qaeda and other international terrorist groups and to make peace with the government in Kabul. The agreement was made without the Afghan government, which is not recognized by the Taliban. Subsequent peace talks between the militia and the state government have largely failed.

In December the insurgents launched a wave of attacks. The NATO mission Resolute support According to Sopko, 2,586 civilians were injured or killed from all over Afghanistan in the last three months of 2020. This number of victims is unusually high for the winter months, and attacks with detention mines have particularly increased. The new US administration has announced that it will review the agreement with the Taliban. Meanwhile, the number of US troops in the country has been reduced to 2,500, before the agreement there were more than 12,000 US soldiers in the country.

Taliban demand withdrawal by May

The Taliban are now calling for the troops to be withdrawn more quickly. If the US does not withdraw by May at the latest, the militia will continue their fight, they announced. Any longer deploying US or other NATO soldiers would be tantamount to "continuing the occupation of Afghanistan", which has been fighting for 20 years, said Taliban spokesman Suhail Schaheen on the sidelines of an official visit to the Iranian capital Tehran.

Meanwhile, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani called on the US to increase pressure on the Taliban and not to rush the withdrawal of troops. The Taliban are also increasingly attacking positions of the Afghan government. In December 2020, around 200 checkpoints fell into the hands of the insurgents in the embattled province of Kandahar. Weapons and ammunition were taken over by the Taliban after the army gave up positions, the Sopko report said.

As a result, security forces loyal to the government defend an estimated 6,000 army and police checkpoints across the country. A third of all security forces in the country, around 95,000 soldiers and police officers, are stationed at such posts. According to estimates by the Afghan and US military, the Taliban have 50,000 to 60,000 fighters.