Afghan President orders offensive operations against Taliban

by Abdulmumeen S. Yitta

Afghan President has ordered Afghan security forces to resume offensive operations against the Taliban and other insurgent groups following the killing of dozens of people including newborn babies in two separate attacks.

In a televised address on Tuesday Ghani said, “I am ordering Afghan security forces to switch from an active defense mode to an offensive one and to start their operations against the enemies.”

On Tuesday, gunmen stormed a maternity hospital in the capital, Kabul killing about 24 people including nurses and newborn babies.

The group also claimed responsibility for the suicide blast in the east of the country at a funeral leaving two dozens of mourners dead.

Responding to the attack in strong terms, Ghani said, “Today, we witnessed terrorist attacks by the Taliban and Daesh groups on a hospital in .abul and a funeral in Nangarhar, as well as other attacks in the country.”

The move to resort to offensive operations against Taliban camemonths after the Afghan forces pledged that it would only react defensively to any attacks from the Taliban.

The strength of a peace deal Taliban signed in February seems to be wearing off following the incidents of the attacks. The group however denied involvement in the attacks.

Supporting his move, the president said that at this point, to defend the country offensive operations are needed.

Ghani said, “The operations were needed to defend the country, safeguard our countrymen and infrastructure, and to repel attacks and threats by the Taliban and all other terrorist groups.”

Responding to the Afghan’s order of offensive operations, Taliban on Wednesday said in a statement that it is fully prepared for any Afghan force’s offensive operations.

“From now onwards the responsibility of further escalation of violence and its ramifications shall fall squarely on the shoulders of the Kabul administration,” the statement reads.

“There seems little point in continuing to engage Taliban in peace talks,” said Hamdullah Mohib, National Security Advisor on Twitter.

Honoring the February deal and American interests, there have not been recent attacks in Afghan cities by Taliban.

But, following a halt in the intra-Afghan prisoner-swap talk tailing Ghani’s refusal to release 5,000 Taliban prisoners at once seems to have dealt a big blow to the peace talks.
With respect to the prisoner-swap agreement, 1,000 Taliban prisoners have so far been released by the Afghan government while Taliban has released about 100 government prisoners.

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