Amidst the efforts of peace negotiations, Taliban members have accelerated their attacks on Afghan government targets as well as Afghan civilians. In a major blow today, the Taliban targeted an Afghan army base in the southern part of Afghanistan, Zabul province, and killed between 17-25 members of the Afghan army and police. The details of the attacks are still to emerge, but it is reported that the Taliban had an insider in the base that coordinated the attack. This attack also happens on the eve of New Year in Afghanistan that starts with the arrival of the spring season. While New Year is widely celebrated in Afghanistan, the Taliban committed yet another crime by killing Afghan army personnel in their base while asleep.
The Afghan government and NATO condemned the attack. The spokesperson for President Ashraf Ghani condemned the attack and tweeted that, “This heinous act of the Taliban is a clear example of their commitment for continued violence and against the AFG [Afghanistan] peace process.”
NATO senior representative to Afghanistan also condemned the “savage Taliban attack” and stated that, “What kind of people can order and do this to fellow Afghans on the day of Nowruz [New Year], in the midst of a global pandemic & after professing commitment to peace? Shameful.”
Many Afghans have also questioned the Taliban’s will toward peace and have directed their frustration at the U.S. special envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad, for failing to acknowledge Taliban’s terror and crimes after they have entered the peace deal.
One Afghan tweeted that the “Taliban celebrated the 1399 Nowruz [New Year] by killing 35 AFG soldiers in Zabul. What kind of ideology/greed can justify this madness?”
Another wrote, “I have no words. I am utterly disgusted and heartbroken. Don’t tell me to be happy about peace with the Taliban @US4AfghanPeace if you have any sign of a heart you will take this seriously.”
The Afghan Ministry of Defense has pledged to respond to the Taliban’s attack in a statement that, “The Afghan National Security and Defense Forces will not let the attack go without a response and will avenge the bloods of the martyrs.”
In the so-called peace deal between the U.S. and Taliban each side saw their own dividends. The Taliban committed to reduction in violence for a period of seven days, which they have repeatedly violated since the signing of the agreement , the release their prisoners, and a commitment from the Taliban that the security of the United States will not be threatened from Afghanistan. Yet despite the deal, the Taliban has continued to attack the Afghan army, the Afghan government, and the Afghan civilians. They have continuously engaged in violence and destruction, causing terror among civilians.
Sources: Twitter 3/20/20; Tolo News, 3/20/20