(TOLO News): At least 900 civilians were either killed or wounded as a result of Taliban violence in the last 50 days, the Ministry of Interior Affairs (MoI) said on Saturday, adding that the group conducted roughly 2,000 attacks during this period.
The Interior Affairs Ministry said that 261 Afghan civilians were killed and 602 more were wounded in Taliban attacks. “The Afghan National Security and Defense Forces in retaliation to these attacks inflicted heavy casualties to them (the Taliban). Over the past 50 days, up to 2,000 members of the Taliban terrorists were killed and wounded,” said Tariq Arian, spokesman for the Ministry of Interior Affairs. The Afghan government on Saturday said that it released over 6,000 Taliban prisoners for peace with the hope that violence is reduced and a ceasefire is announced, but the Taliban acted against the government’s “goodwill gesture”, defied its commitments and increased attacks on Afghans. “The Taliban did not stop this unjustified war against its own people. The group instead has increased the war. The government released over 6,000 Taliban prisoners for the sake of a ceasefire, but the Taliban did not announce it,” said Dawa Khan Menapal, deputy spokesman for President Ashraf Ghani. Experts said the move to keep members of the Afghan National Security and Defense Forces (ANDSF) on the defensive position has weakened these forces and has strengthened the Taliban’s war machine. “There is weakness in the intelligence sector. There is also weakness in the leadership level to undertake management of the forces,” said military analyst Atiqullah Amarkhil. “We turned to defensive position and they (Taliban) become more rebellion. We should divert to offensive status,” said military analyst Mirza Mohammad Yarmand. The Taliban has rejected their involvement in civilian casualties. The group has said that they are only targeting the government forces in their offensives. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the prisoners release was part of the US-Taliban peace agreement and that no condition was set there to reduce attacks on the Afghan government forces.