KUNDUZ -- Dozens of Taliban fighters stormed three checkposts in pre-dawn raids in Kunduz Province on Tuesday (June 23), killing at least eight security personnel in the latest attack on government forces ahead of expected peace talks.
The simultaneous raids on one army and two police checkpoints in Kunduz Province led to fierce gun battles that lasted for hours, officials said.
Eight members of Afghan security forces were killed and seven more were wounded in the fighting, district chief Nasruddin Saadi told AFP.
Kunduz provincial governor's spokesman Esmatullah Muradi confirmed the co-ordinated attack but said nine security personnel were killed in the night-time battle.
The Taliban so far have not commented.
Taliban fighters have repeatedly attacked security forces in and around Kunduz Province. The city itself has fallen twice to the insurgents in recent years for a brief time.
Taliban members also raided an army checkpost in Balkh Province and another in Ghazni Province during the night, the Defence Ministry said, adding that several insurgents were killed in ensuing clashes.
Ramping up violence
The deadly assaults come after authorities this week accused the Taliban of increasing attacks on Afghan forces at a time when both sides are preparing to start delayed negotiations.
On Monday (June 22), the National Security Council said the Taliban had killed at least 291 Afghan security personnel over the past week, calling it the deadliest week in the 19-year conflict.
President Ashraf Ghani, in an address to the cabinet on June 22, said the violence unleashed by the Taliban was "running against the spirit of commitment for peace".
Violence had dropped across much of Afghanistan since the Taliban announced a three-day ceasefire on May 24 to mark the Eid ul Fitr holiday, but officials now accuse the insurgents of stepping up their assaults.
However, Ghani has vowed to complete a Taliban prisoner release as agreed in a deal between the insurgents and Washington in February.
Afghan authorities have already freed about 3,000 Taliban inmates and plan to further release 2,000 as stipulated in the deal as a condition for talks with the Taliban.
The deal between Washington and the Taliban has paved the way for withdrawing foreign troops from Afghanistan by the middle of 2021 and also for the start of Kabul-Taliban peace talks.
The media outlets are releasing news unilaterally because Taliban's spokesman says that they are not advancing, but are defending their own areas. Whom should we believe?Reply
As long as peace does not come and security is not tightened, there will be neither prosperity nor infrastructure.Reply
Long live Afghan national army. Down with mercenary Taliban.Reply
The National Army is unable to confront Taliban, because most of the National Army's soldiers are illiterate and have joined the National Army due to unemployment. They are not motivated by the fact that they are the guardians of this country. Eighty percent of the Afghan National Army's personnel are from remote areas of Afghanistan, and they have not been properly trained to confront the enemy. Afghanistan cannot ensure security of the country with this army.Reply
Taliban have to scare from God and stop killing of Afghans anymore. Now, as Americans are leaving the country, there is no need for growing Taliban's 'jihad' against the Muslim Afghans because there is no jihad against Muslims. Jihad is allowed only against the infidels when they invade Muslims. So, now jihad ended because Americans have already started withdrawing from Afghanistan. Now, it is time for Afghans to sit together and make peace and reconcile.Reply
The cause of the Afghan National Army's casualties is their own laziness and weakness. Do Taliban weapons use bullets and the Afghan army weapons use okra, as Taliban attack them every day, and kill dozens of them? Afghanistan's national army soldiers are in the trenches and Taliban attack their trenches and kill them, while those who are in the trenches should not suffer casualties. The attackers must sustain casualties. The Afghan army soldiers cannot defend themselves, so how can they keep security of the country and the people? The National Army and the National Police even smoke cigarettes and listen to the music during guarding, while the person who performs guarding should not move from his place; he should just pay attention to the threats and always observe, but this is not the case in the Afghan National Army.Reply