MOSCOW, May 4. /TASS/. Afghanistan’s security forces and military have liquidated 181 militants of the radical movement Taliban (outlawed in Russia) over the past day as a result of a counteroffensive in several provinces, launched in response to the Taliban’s customary springtime attacks, Afghanistan’s National Defense ministry said in a communique on Tuesday.
The worst clashes were in Hilmand Province, in the southwest of the country (106 militants, including eight influential warlords, were killed). Hostilities occurred in Ghazni, Kandahar, Laghman, Zabul, Herat and Baghlan provinces. The counter-offensive destroyed a large amount of weapons and ammunition belonging to the Taliban.
The armed clashes between the Taliban and government forces in Afghanistan have surged up as attempts to get peace talks going are stalled. The conflicting parties adhere to irreconcilable positions: the government demands the conclusion of truce as number one precondition, while the Taliban argues that a future Constitution and state system must be negotiated and a coalition government formed first and armistice declared afterwards.
In the meantime, the TOLOnews broadcaster has quoted sources as saying that the United States and the Taliban are in talks on the possibility of completing the US troop pullout from Afghanistan by the middle of the summer, and not early September.
On February 29, 2020 the previous Donald Trump-led US administration and the Taliban movement signed the Doha Accord. The United States, its allies and the coalition pledged to pull all forces out of Afghanistan within 14 months. In exchange, the Taliban guaranteed that it would not use the territory of Afghanistan for actions that might jeopardize the security of the United States or its allies.
On April 14, 2021 US President Joe Biden declared that he was planning to start the troop pullout from Afghanistan in May with the aim to complete it by September 11, 2021. The Taliban argues that Washington’s decision is a violation of the Doha Accord, which, among other things, stipulates that all foreign troops must leave Afghanistan by May 1, 2021.