Afghanistan: violence remains high, despite peace negotiations

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Violence in Afghanistan remains abnormally high despite peace negotiations with the Taliban, according to an official US report released on Friday, which notes a sharp rise in the number of civilian casualties in the second quarter.

According to the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Reconstruction of Afghanistan (Sigar, which reports to Congress), “attacks initiated by the enemy remained well above the historical average” from April 1 to June 30.

The Taliban did not carry out any attacks against the forces of the international coalition, but they attacked the Afghan army in several regions, says the Office of the Inspector General, which does not have the right to publish the number of attacks Taliban since the United States signed an agreement with the Afghan insurgents on February 29 in Doha.

Citing data from the Afghan government, the report said, however, that the week of June 14-21 was “the deadliest in 19 years”, with 422 attacks on the Afghan army in 32 provinces leaving 291 dead and 550 wounded.

Civilians were not spared. According to coalition figures, with 711 dead and 1,374 injured, the number of civilian casualties increased by almost 60% in the second quarter compared to the previous three months and by 18% compared to the same period a year ago .

The report cites a Pentagon document that says “the Taliban calibrate their use of violence to harass and weaken the Afghan army and government, but remain at a level they see as consistent with the agreement with the states. -United, probably to encourage an American withdrawal and create conditions which are ”after this withdrawal.

The agreement between the United States and the Taliban provides for the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan by May 2021 in exchange in particular for security guarantees from the insurgents and the opening of peace negotiations with Kabul, which appear on the verge of being able to start, next week.

The United States has already reduced its strength from 12,000 to 8,600 troops and completely withdrawn its forces from five military bases in the country.

The United States, which wants to end the longest war in its history, arrived in Afghanistan at the head of an international coalition in late 2001, after the September 11 attacks on their soil. They chased the Taliban out of power there but then never managed to defeat them on the ground.

After more than 18 years of conflict, President Donald Trump keeps repeating that he wants to repatriate all American troops as quickly as possible.

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