US, WASHINGTON (NEWS OBSERVATORY) — The peace process in Afghanistan seems more hypothetical every day, the United States announced on Wednesday the first airstrike against the Taliban since the Doha agreement when the insurgents killed at least 20 Afghan soldiers and police .
On Tuesday, after “a very good conversation” with Mullah Baradar, the main negotiator of the Doha process, President Donald Trump had deduced that the Taliban “want to end the violence”. But on the ground, the reality seems quite different.
Insurgents have continued to escalate attacks on Afghan forces since they ended a nine-day partial truce on Monday.
This reduction in fighting, demanded by Washington, allowed them to sign a historic agreement on Saturday in Doha, in which Washington promised to withdraw foreign troops from Afghanistan within 14 months in exchange for the insurgents’ respect of certain guarantees, including their participation in an inter-Afghan dialogue on the future of the country, supposed to start on March 10.
In addition, “the Taliban leaders had promised the international community that they would reduce the violence and not that they would increase the attacks,” Colonel Sonny Leggett, a spokesman for the US forces in Afghanistan, pointed out on Twitter.
However, the violence has gone up a notch: at least 20 police officers and soldiers were killed during Taliban attacks in the night from Tuesday to Wednesday.
“Taliban fighters attacked at least three army outposts in the Imam Sahib district of Kunduz, killing at least ten soldiers and four police officers,” said Safiullah Amiri, a member of the provincial council in Kunduz (North). .
Local police and a Ministry of Defense official confirmed this assessment.
In southern Orzgan, “six police were killed and seven injured” by the Taliban in Tarinkot, said Zergai Ebadi, spokesman for the provincial governor.
– ‘Defend our Afghan partners’ –
The Interior Ministry has counted 30 Taliban attacks in 15 of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan in the last 24 hours, which killed four civilians, 11 members of the security forces and 17 insurgents, his spokesman Nasrat Rahimi tweeted on Wednesday. .
The Taliban, who often exaggerate the losses inflicted on the enemy, said they had killed 35 Afghan soldiers and police since Tuesday evening.
Colonel Leggett told him, “on the single day of March 3”, of 43 attacks by the Taliban against checkpoints of the Afghan forces in Helmand, province of the South considered as one of the main strongholds of the insurgents.
In return, “the United States conducted an air strike on Wednesday in Nahr-e Saraj, Helmand, against Taliban fighters who were actively attacking the Afghan security forces. It was a defensive strike,” the US military tweeted. .
“We are committed to peace, but we have the responsibility to defend our Afghan partners”, he continued to justify this first American strike since the Doha agreements, but also their “first strike against the Taliban” since beginning of the partial truce, “11 days ago”.
This deterioration of the situation raises fears about the inter-Afghan dialogue, supposed to bring together the Taliban, the Afghan government, the opposition and civil society. Historical talks, the Taliban refusing for 18 years to recognize the authorities in Kabul, which they describe as “puppet” of the United States.
But beyond the security situation, other obstacles are looming: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani rejects one of the main points of the Doha agreement, the release of up to 5,000 Taliban prisoners in exchange for that of up to 1,000 members of the Afghan forces in the hands of the insurgents.
According to the Taliban, who are now making the measure a prerequisite for any inter-Afghan talks to start, Mullah Baradar asked Trump to “let no one take action that violates the terms of the agreement.”
For Atta Noori, a political analyst based in Kabul, the observation is clear: the Americans have “failed for the moment to convince the Taliban – who consider themselves the victors – to sit at the negotiating table with the Afghan government . ”
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Article is written and prepared by our foreign editors from different countries around the world – material edited and published by News Observatory staff in our US newsroom.