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Taliban Fight and Talk Strategy: Part II

Published Dec 04, 2020
Updated Dec 04, 2020

The level of violence continues to be high with reports of 500 civilians killed and wounded in attacks by Taliban in the past month as reported by the Afghan Interior Ministry  which includes 16 suicide attacks.

There have been large number of incidents of planting of mines and magnetic bombs to include 168 in the past month. 134 civilians have thus been killed across the country while over 350 injured.

Taliban  have refuted the charges and have alleged that contrary alleged 31 civilians were killed and 34 others injured in the 26 government air and ground attacks. Meanwhile it is alleged that prisoners who have been released are re-joining the fight while the Taliban is attempting to control all activity in the so called areas under their jurisdiction such as transport and even running of schools. 

The Afghan security forces despite their high intensity have not been able to contain the drift due to vast area and paucity of numbers.

The Taliban with its close partner the Haqqani network and the Islamic Stage of Khorasan have caried out a series of attacks in the country the latest one being in Ghazni on November 29 which has led to over 30 deaths while a simultaneous one on the same day has been carried out in Zabul in the south.

A suicide vehicle attack  near a public protection unit in Ghazni province  was detonated by a bomber. This was “a Humvee vehicle, loaded with explosives,” Aref Rahmani, Ghazni Representative in Parliament told Khaama Press

The caravan of Atajan Haqbayan, the head of Zabul Provincial Council was hit with another suicide attack in the Qalat. Haqbayan, and three others were wounded in the attack while three were killed and 18 others injured.

The rebels have not restricted violence in the south or in Kabul but a recent series of attacks were carried out in central Bamyan province which is regarded as relatively peaceful.

The National Directorate of Security (NDS) has indicated that the Taliban commanders have been directed by the Quetta Shura not to own up the attacks to avoid being held accountable for the same and continue with a fight and talks strategy. “Taliban fighters have been told to conduct terrorist attacks in public places and refrain from taking credit for such attacks,” the statement by the NDS said.

Edmund Fitton-Brown, the coordinator of the United Nations monitoring team for Daesh, al-Qaeda, and the Taliban, in an interview with TOLOnews, said that al-Qaeda will inflict devastating harms to the Afghan peace process it not controlled.  

“In terms of the challenge that al-Qaeda represents to the peace process, obviously the peace process is predicated upon the fact that the Taliban should prevent any threat from emanating outside Afghanistan and that includes from al-Qaeda, and unless al-Qaeda is in some way controlled, then of course, they represent a threat to the peace process,” he said as per Tolonews.

According to a recent UN report, 400 to 600 al-Qaeda members are still present in 12 provinces of Afghanistan. The UN also said that al-Qaeda’s branch for Indian Sub-continent was also operating under the cover of the Taliban.  

“My understanding is that the Taliban’s ties with al-Qaeda go very deep,” Fitton-Brown said. “ISIS-Khorsan has been under a lot of pressure. We still think though that they have probably somewhere in the region of 2,000 to 2,200 fighters in Afghanistan. It’s still a significant number. They are very much loyal to ISIL international agenda,” said Fitton-Brown as quoted by Tolonews.

New York Times report indicated that  the Taliban has targeted governor’s compound in Kunduz Province using drones. An attack most likely carried out by a drone, killed at least four security officers in Kunduz the northern part of the country.  Ghulam Rabbani Rabbani, a member of Kunduz’s provincial council, told New York Times, “It is not clear that it was an explosion or a missile or drone attack.”