On March 2nd, the Taliban said that they would continue carrying out attacks on Afghanistan government forces.
Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid told news agency Reuters they would not take part in talks with the government unless the release went ahead.
“We are fully ready for the intra-Afghan talks, but we are waiting for the release of our 5,000 prisoners,” he said. “If our 5,000 prisoners – 100 or 200 more or less does not matter – do not get released there will be no intra-Afghan talks.”
An estimated 10,000 captured Taliban are being held in Afghanistan.
The deal between the US and Taliban, which is an obvious capitulation of Washington against the group that they can’t defeat in Afghanistan was signed on February 29th.
On March 1st, Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani told reporters his government had agreed to no such release.
“There is no commitment to releasing 5,000 prisoners,” Mr Ghani said. “This is the right and the self-will of the people of Afghanistan. It could be included in the agenda of the intra-Afghan talks, but cannot be a prerequisite for talks.”
Five Afghan policemen died in an attack on a security checkpoint near a copper mine on March 3rd.
Presumably the Taliban carried it out, but the spokesperson has not claimed responsibility for it.
Hasib Stanekzai, head of Logar provincial council, told Reuters the policemen were soft targets during the early morning attack as they had no heavy weapons.
A spokeswoman for Afghanistan’s interior ministry said that in 24 hours, the Taliban carried out 33 attacks against Afghan forces in 16 provinces, killing six civilians. She did not say how many Afghan security force members had died.
“Taliban should give up killing civilians, otherwise (Afghan National Security forces) take action and eliminate them in the defense of our people,” said the spokeswoman Marwa Amini.
On March 4th, the US conducted an airstrike against Taliban fighters in Afghanistan’s southern Helmand province, a U.S. forces spokesman said.
The Taliban fighters were “were actively attacking an (Afghan National Security Forces) checkpoint. This was a defensive strike to disrupt the attack,” said Colonel Sonny Leggett, a spokesman for the U.S. Forces in Afghanistan in a tweet.
He said Washington was committed to peace but called on the Taliban to stop “needless attacks” and uphold their commitments, alluding to the deal signed on Saturday in Doha.
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