Afghanistan — Taliban, Others Step Up Attacks on Eve of Peace

  • The Taliban and the Islamic State have claimed responsibility for several recent attacks.
  • The Taliban denied taking part in two other previous attacks.
  • Since the peace deal signed in February, the Taliban had ceased from attacking US and NATO troops, but had continued to attack government security forces.

Dozens of people were killed in three separate attacks in Afghanistan. The Taliban has carried out a series of retaliatory attacks after President Ashraf Ghani’s recent order for resumption of offensive attacks on militant groups in the country.  Ghani’s order came the very day that dozens of Afghan citizens were killed in separate attacks.

The Taliban, who refer to themselves as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), are a Sunni Islamic fundamentalist political movement and military organization in Afghanistan currently waging war (an insurgency, or jihad) within that country. Since 2016, the Taliban’s leader is Mawlawi Hibatullah Akhundzada.

In one attack, gunmen opened fire in a mosque in Parwan Province, north of the country’s capital, killing eleven worshipers and injuring others. The worshippers were offering evening prayers after breaking their Ramadan fast. In the second incident, three brothers were killed after gunmen attacked a family that was returning from a mosque. The spokesperson for the police chief in Khost Province said that, in both incidents, the gunmen fled after attacking.

Mosques are prone to attacks by the militant groups. Although no group has claimed responsibility, the Islamic State is known to conduct similar attacks. IS claimed responsibility for a bomb explosion on a mosque in eastern Nangarhar province that claimed the lives of 62 people and left 36 wounded in October last year.

In the third attack, nine militiamen were killed and six others left wounded after the Taliban targeted local pro-government militia checkpoints in Takhar province. It is alleged that the attackers fled when reinforcements came. The Taliban did not issue any statement on the attack.

At least nine people were killed and 40 others injured after the militant group attacked at an army base in Ghazni. On Thursday last week, the group again attacked Gardez city in Afghanistan’s east, killing five people and injuring dozens. It is alleged that an army base was the target for the attack, but a truck filled with explosives blew up before it reached its target.

It was the first attack by the group in an urban center since the Taliban signed peace deals with the US in February, which was to allow US and NATO troops to leave the country.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – Khorasan Province (ISIL-KP), or ISIS-K, is a branch of the militant Islamist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), active in Afghanistan and Pakistan. ISIL announced the group’s formation in January 2015.

The Taliban denied taking part in two other previous attacks. In one incident, 24 people— including mothers, nurses and infants— were killed in an attack on a hospital in Kabul. Thirty-two people were killed in another attack at a funeral in Nangarhar Province.

The attack in Nangarhar was claimed by the Islamic State, and no group claimed responsibility for the attack in the hospital. However, its neighborhood is home to a large community of Hazaras, a minority of the Shia Muslims, who are prone to attacks by the Islamic State.

Since the peace deal signed in February, the Taliban had ceased from attacking US and NATO troops, but had continued to attack government security forces. The US has been trying to get the militant group and the government to start negotiations, but the efforts have been hampered by squabbles among the two groups.

According to the spokesperson of the National Security Council, nearly 300 people have been killed by Taliban while Afghan forces have killed around 249 Taliban militants since the offensive began.

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Juliet Norah

I am a freelance journalist is passionate about news. I derive pleasure in informing people about the happenings in the world

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