The Taliban announced this Wednesday (21) that they will enter combat only if they are attacked during Eid el Adha, the Muslim feast of sacrifice, in Afghanistan.
“I can confirm that we are in a defensive position for Eid,” which began on Tuesday (20) and lasts for three days, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told AFP.
Since May, taking advantage of the last stage of the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan, which will be completed by the end of August, the Taliban launched an all-out offensive that allowed them to conquer several areas of the territory.
Without crucial air support from foreign troops, government forces maintain only provincial capitals and some important roads.
This year, the Taliban did not officially announce a ceasefire on the occasion of Eid al Adha, unlike what they did in previous years at some Muslim festivals.
Adopting a “defensive posture” should allow Afghans to celebrate Eid with their family in relative safety.
The Taliban have already been accused of using the ceasefire on the occasion of these festive dates to reinforce their positions, replenish their fighters and prepare them to attack Afghan forces once the truce ended.
On Tuesday, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani declared during a ceremony on the occasion of Eid al Adha that “the Taliban have shown that they have neither the will nor the intention to make peace” after a barren weekend negotiations between the government and insurgents in Doha.
The ceremony took place at the presidential palace in Kabul. Minutes earlier, the site had been the target of three rockets that fell within a radius of one kilometer. The attack left no victims.
The offensive was claimed by the Islamic State (EI). In the past, this group has been accused by the Afghan authorities of complementing Taliban action – in particular, in attacks on civilians.
The Afghan government often holds the Taliban responsible for the attacks claimed by the ISIS, ensuring that the latter was defeated two years ago in its former stronghold in Nangarhar province (east).
On Monday (19), several diplomatic representations in Afghanistan asked the Taliban to end their offensive, something that contradicts – according to these representatives – “the support they expressed for a negotiated solution” to the conflict.
On Sunday (18), representatives of the Afghan government and the Taliban concluded a new round of negotiations in Doha, Qatar, without any significant results.
Both parties said they only agreed on the need to find a “fair solution” and are expected to meet again “next week”.
+ Learn about the effectiveness of each vaccine against Covid-19