Clashes erupt on second day of reduction in violence

The Taliban militants clashed with the Afghan security forces in parts of Afghanistan on Saturday, February 22, a day after the reduction in violence was announced, a report by Reuters said.

Reduction in violence, a seven day temporary truce, was formally announced last Friday night. The United States and the Taliban will sign a peace agreement if this temporary truce turns out to be effective. As per peace deal, the US will pull out its forces from the country and the Taliban leaders will join the intra-Afghan peace dialogue to discuss the future of the country with the Afghan government and politicians.

According to reports, the Taliban militants launched attack on Afghan security forces in Balkh province early on Saturday.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesperson, confirmed the attack, claiming that the Taliban fighters opened fire on convoy of Afghan security forces as it was entering a Taliban-controlled area in Balkh province.

According to TOLOnews, the Taliban fighters clashed with the Afghan security forces in eight provinces of the country on the first day of reduction in violence.

Asadullah Khalid, the acting defense minister, has confirmed Taliban attacks on Afghan forces. Mr. Khalid has said there has a significant reduction in violence in the last 12 hours.

On the other hand, anti-government force targeted convoy of Afghan forces today, Sunday, February 23, in the southern Kandahar province. Baheer Ahmadi, spokesperson for Kandahar governor, told Kabul Now that anti-government armed forces attacked a convoy of Afghan security forces, around 11 am, in Chinar area of Shawalikot district of Kandahar.

The clashes came while the Taliban, in a statement, have called on the group’s field commanders and fighters not to target government institutions and military facilities.

In a tweet, Zabihullah Mujahid has called on Taliban fighters to avoid targeting provincial capital buildings, Afghan military facilities and military bases of foreign forces.

The reduction in violence is a test period to gage if the Taliban leaders, who are leading the negotiations with the US diplomats, can influence and control Taliban field commanders and fighters on the ground.

For the Taliban leadership it is delicate situation as they have promised to bring a significant reduction in violence but the prospect of peace talks would become more complicated if they fail to harness their fighters and reduce violence.