Rising clashes squash hopes for Afghan peace

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DM Monitoring

KABUL: Increasing militancy and conflicts have faded the hopes of Afghans for peace as more than 80 fighters, mostly Taliban militants have been killed in the country over the past 24 hours, officials said Sunday.
Taliban militants have stepped up activities everywhere in the conflict-battered country and in the latest waves of violent incidents, they attacked security checkpoints in Sharh-e-Bazarg district of northern Badakhshan province on Sunday but retreated after leaving five bodies behind, spokesman for provincial government Sanahullah Rohani confirmed. In the clash which lasted for a couple of hours, eight more militants and two security personnel were injured, according to the official.
Taliban militants have also focused their guns on western Badghis province to gain ground, a member of Badghis provincial council Mohammad Nasir Nazari said. Confirming the clash, an army officer in the restive Badghis province Hafizullah Masoud Akhundzada told Xinhua that fighting planes struck Taliban militants in Ab Kamari district of Badghis on Saturday evening, killing eight insurgents and wounding three others.
According to security officials, at least 70 more militants have been killed in eastern Laghman, Wardak and Paktia provinces over the past 24 hours. Fighting has increased amid the Afghan peace efforts and the United States’ announcement to withdraw troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11. The U.S.-led military coalition, according to media reports, would start to pull out from Afghanistan on May 1 and the process would be completed by Sept. 11, the 20th anniversary of the deadly terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.
Denouncing Taliban-led insurgency, an Afghan teacher Mohammad Daud told Xinhua that “since the foreign forces are leaving the country there is no legitimate reason for the Taliban to fight against the government,” and the Taliban should clarify “why they are fighting” when the foreign forces are leaving. “Taliban should stop fighting against Afghans,” another Kabul resident Mohammad Akram said. There is no logic for the Taliban to continue war against Afghans and their government while foreign forces are withdrawing from Afghanistan.
Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman Rohullah Ahmadzai said the Taliban has intensified violence in Ramadam, the Muslims fasting month, and fighting against Afghan security forces.