Violence continues as Khalilzad discusses Afghan peace with Indian FM

The Taliban have killed at least 13 pro-government forces late Saturday, April 18, across Afghanistan, according to local sources.

Violence continues while the US peace envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad, has discussed the peace process, inter alia, reduction in violence with Indian Foreign Minister, Dr. S. Jaishankar, in New Delhi.

“We also discussed the need for both the Afghan government and the Taliban to accelerate prisoner releases, support a prompt reduction in violence, and start intra-Afghan negotiations,” Khalilzad said in a series of tweets about his meeting with Mr. Shankar. He also said that they have talked about the urgency of resolving the internal political crisis and importance of Afghan leaders forming an inclusive government.

Though Khalilzad has repeatedly called for reduction in violence and accelerating prisoner swap between Afghan government and the Taliban, the militants have ramped up their campaign violence across the country.

Monir Ahmad Farhad, spokesperson for Balkh governor, told Kabul Now that the Taliban have killed nine members of People Uprising Forces—a pro-government militia—and wounded four others on Saturday night, April 18.

The local official further said that around 12 Taliban militants were killed by Afghan forces in different parts of the province over past 24 hours and five others wounded.

On the other hand, Nasser Ahmad Faqiri, a councilman from the southern Ghazni province, confirmed to Kabul Now that the Taliban have killed Abdul Qayyum, acting police chief of Rashidan district of the province, late Saturday night in an ambush.

In the western Badghis province, the Taliban have killed a commander of local police forces along with two other Afghan security forces in Moqur district of the province, said Najmuddin Burhani, spokesperson for governor of Badghis.

Violence by the Taliban, however, have not been just focused against government and pro-government forces. Against the backdrop of insistence by US military and diplomatic officials over the need to decrease violence after the US-Taliban peace deal signed on February 29, scores of civilians have also lost their lives in the Taliban attacks.

According to the Office of the National Security Council, 24 civilians were killed and 13 others wounded, including women and children, in Taliban attacks over past week.