A UN report has recorded a surge in attacks by the Taliban against the Afghan forces in March weeks after signing the peace deal with the insurgent group. According to a report, the Taliban has escalated more than 4500 attacks against Afghanistan, which is an approximate 70% increase in strikes between March 1 and April 15 as compared to the data around the same period last year. As per the Afghan National Security Council, the Taliban have targeted the country with an average of 50 attacks every day since the signing of a peace deal between the United States and the insurgent group on February 29.
Notably, Taliban and Afghan forces have been engaging in ongoing confrontations amid the fight against the global Coronavirus pandemic which has taken several lives in the country and across the world. As both sides ramp up their military operations, dozens of Afghani security officers and Taliban members are dying along with rising civilian casualties every day.
The war has exhausted human and financial resources, intensifying the risk of pandemic infections in the country with the Afghan service members guarding the frontlines. Even as the Taliban choose to pursue its act of terrorism, Afghanistan is facing an acute shortage of medical supplies to protect the virus-infected citizens. The Afghan government is investing millions of dollars in defense apparatus and human force which could have diverted to improving the health facilities in the pandemic battle. Earlier, the NATO support mission provided help to the Afghan security forces by providing medicines and protective equipment such as gloves, disinfectants, masks, and eyeglasses across the country.
With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had called for a global humanitarian ceasefire in order to tackle the health crisis. There have been several appeals from the Afghan government and international organisations to the Taliban for a ceasefire such that the pandemic crisis can be handled effectively.
However, all calls have been in vain as with continued attacks on the Afghan security forces on various fronts. While the insurgent group has stated that it will stop attacks in areas where the pandemic has infected the citizens, there have been multiple attacks in various rural areas over the past two months leading to several casualties. As cities in the country observing Coronavirus lockdown, the war has certainly shifted to the rural areas.
On May 4, the Taliban claimed responsibility for an attack at an Afghan military centre in the southern Helmand province which took place on Sunday night. Almost 150 Afghan army personnel and intelligence wing forces were stationed at the centre.
The US signed the peace agreement with the insurgents on February 29 hoping to put an end to the 18-year-old war in the landlocked country. As part of the deal, Washington approved to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan and there will be peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government over an exchange of prisoners from both ends. However, there was a dispute over prisoners swap leading to the insurgent group calling off the peace deal. In the aftermath of rising attacks, the US military has also issued a warning to the Taliban of responsive action if violence is not reduced.
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