Afghan authorities, who have been facing a major Taliban offensive for two months, decreed this Saturday (24) a night curfew throughout the country, except in three provinces, one of which is Kabul.
“To contain violence and limit Taliban movements, a curfew has been decreed in 31 provinces,” the interior ministry announced in a statement, specifying that only the regions of Kabul, Panjshir (northeast) and Nangarhar (east) did not will be affected.
The ministry’s deputy spokesman, Ahmad Zia Zia, told reporters the curfew would be in effect from 10:00 pm to 4:00 am, but did not specify for how long.
The Taliban launched an offensive against Afghan forces in early May, coinciding with the final withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan, now almost complete.
Over the past two months, most of the 9,500 foreign soldiers have left the country.
The Taliban took control of large rural areas of Afghanistan and several border posts with Iran, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Pakistan.
So far, Afghan forces have offered little resistance and control only the main roads as well as provincial capitals.
After three days of relative calm on the occasion of Eid al-Adha, the Muslim holiday of Sacrifice, Afghan authorities on Friday announced the launch of several military operations in some 15 provinces, with the aim of trying to regain ground.
An AFP journalist reported on Saturday army operations in northern Kunduz province.
The defense ministry announced on Friday that the army had reconquered an important district in the western province of Herat, near the Iranian border.
The United States, whose withdrawal was 95 percent complete, according to the army chief of staff, has confirmed that it has provided air support to Afghan forces.
“We are continuing the attacks in support of Afghan forces,” said US Department of Defense spokesman John Kirby, without specifying, however, where or when.
The Taliban called the US actions “barbaric attacks” and denounced the martial tone of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who announced major operations over the next six months.
“During this six-month period, the responsibility for any military action will rest with the leaders of the government in Kabul. the fighters [talibãs] they will fiercely defend their territories and will not remain in a defensive posture if the enemy insists on waging war,” warned Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman.
This spokesman, however, denied the government’s allegations of atrocities committed by insurgents against civilians in the Spin Boldak district, on the border with Pakistan.
“We categorically deny this advertisement. After the fighters [talibãs] captured the Spin Boldak district, no one was hurt or mistreated,” he said.
Since Washington announced in 2020 the definitive withdrawal of foreign troops, the Taliban have sought to present a more moderate image, especially abroad, and claim to support a “political agreement” to end the conflict.
However, negotiations between the government and the insurgents, which began in Doha in September, are stalled and on July 18 another round ended without success. mam-jds-ayv/sg/pc/tjc/mr
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