The Taliban has reportedly killed at least 291 Afghanistan security personnel over the past week. According to the AFP, a top government official revealed this on Monday, fingering the insurgents as the perpertrators of a wave of violence ahead of potential talks.
Javid Faisal, spokesman for the National Afghan Security Council said:
“The previous week was the “deadliest” in the country’s 19 years of conflict” even as the insurgents dismissed the latest figures.
Faisal said on Twitter:
“Taliban’s commitment to reduce violence is meaningless, and their actions inconsistent with their rhetoric on peace,” he said.
“The Taliban carried out 422 attacks in 32 provinces during that time, killing 291 security force personnel and wounding 550 others”.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in a statement on Monday condemned the violence, which he attributed entirely to the Taliban.
“The government sees the violence as running against the spirit of commitment for peace”, Ghani said.
The Taliban however rejected the latest government figures, terming them as a ploy to destroy the group’s credibility.
“The enemy aims to hurt the peace process and intra-Afghan talks by releasing such false reports,” Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban’s spokesman in Afghanistan, told AFP.
“We did have some attacks last week, but they were mostly in defence.”
The recent onslaughts of murder incidents have drawn condemnation from US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, who led negotiations with the Taliban ahead of a deal signed in February, according to AFP.
Khalizad’s legal team had been working on a prisoner exchange that is considered vital before the Kabul government and the Taliban can start peace talks.
“This attack underscores what we all know: Spoilers (both domestic and foreign) are trying to disrupt and delay” the peace process, Khalilzad said on Twitter.
“Both sides should not be deterred, and push forward to take the steps necessary to reach intra-Afghan negotiation”.
President Ghani has vowed to complete the Taliban prisoner release, as Afghan authorities have released about 3,000 Taliban prisoners, with pla s to further release 2,000 as stipulated in the insurgents’ deal with Washington.
The Taliban have said they are ready for peace talks but only after the release of the remaining 2,000 insurgents.