ONSC: Taliban killed 89 civilians in last two weeks

The Taliban have killed 89 civilians and wounded 150 others across 29 provinces in the last two weeks, according to the Office of the National Security Council (ONSC). The ONSC spokesperson, Javid Faisal, claims that the Taliban even did not stop violence “during Eid” though the two sides had agreed on a three-day ceasefire.

According to a statement issued by the ONSC, most of civilian casualties have been caused by roadside bombs in Kandahar, Kabul, and Sar-e-Pul provinces.

Violence continues despite efforts are being made to bring the Taliban political leadership to negotiating table with the Afghan government. The two sides have speed up release process of the inmates in a bid to reach the set goal defined in the US-Taliban agreement signed on February 29. The agreement asks the Afghan government to release up to 5,000 Taliban prisoners in exchange for the release of up to 1,000 prisoners of the Afghan government.

The government has released 3,000 Taliban prisoners, with President Ghani promising the release of the remaining Taliban prisoners soon. “My colleagues and I have decided to release the additional Taliban prisoners within a short period,” Ghani said in conversation with the Atlantic Council on Thursday, June 11.

With the new batch of 22 Afghan government prisoners released by the Taliban yesterday, May 12, the total number of the government inmates who have been released reaches 549, according to details provided by Suhail Shaheen, spokesperson for the political office of the militant group in Doha.

Despite tangible progress in the peace process and accelerated efforts to kick start intra-Afghan talks with the Taliban, violence has increased albeit in a more targeted way often targeting pro-government religious scholars and public figures. Though the Taliban immediately reject all such targeted assassination of religious scholars and denounce them as crime, the attacks are said to be working in the interests of the militant group at this stage.

In the most recent one, Azizullah Mofleh, a well-known religious scholar who usually would speak on behalf of Afghan security forces, was killed along with three prayers in a bomb explosion which hit Shershah Sori mosque in Karte Char, a western neighborhood of Kabul, on Friday, June 12.

On the other hand, seven police forces were dead, one wounded, and one another was missing after the Taliban militants launched an offensive attack on their outpost in Pasaband district of the central Ghor province, according to Fakhruddin, police chief of the province. The incident occurred last night, June 12, in Abak area of the district.

One child was killed and seven civilians were wounded in a Taliban mortar attack which hit Gulran district of the western Herat province, according to Herat police department.

A prominent member of Hezb-e-Islami, Abdul Wali Ikhlas, was killed along with seven others in an armed attack targeted them around 09:30 p.m. last night, June 12, in Alisher district of the eastern Khost province. Confirming the attack, Adel Haidar, spokesperson for Khost Police Chief said that the police forces have already started a probe into the case.

No group has claimed responsibility for the deadly attack.