Afghan violence surged despite peace talks, says US watchdog



In this photo taken September 27, a boy looks at the camera as a policeman holding a rocket-propelled grenade stands behind him in Deh Qubad village in Maiwand District, Kandahar Province. [Wakil Kohsar/AFP]

KABUL -- Violent attacks in Afghanistan surged by 50% in recent months even as the government and the Taliban launched unprecedented peace talks in September, a US watchdog warned Thursday (November 5).

Despite brief lulls during two temporary ceasefires over the summer, fighting has raged across the country as the Taliban launched devastating attacks on provincial capitals and security installations, with fears that the violence may jeopardise negotiations.

Attacks on Afghan forces and civilians were 50% higher in the three months to the end of September than in the previous quarter, the US special inspector general for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) said in a report.

876 civilian deaths in 3 months

"Overall enemy-initiated attacks this quarter were also characterised as 'above seasonal norms'," SIGAR's quarterly report to the US Congress added.


A journalist walks inside a damaged classroom of the National Legal Training centre November 3, a day after gunmen stormed Kabul University. At least 22 people were killed in a brutal, on-campus attack claimed by the 'Islamic State of Iraq and Syria' (ISIS). [Wakil Kohsar/AFP]

The watchdog reported 2,561 civilian casualties in July-September, including 876 deaths. The number of casualties was 43% higher than in the prior quarter.

Little progress has been made in meetings between Afghan government negotiators and the Taliban since the talks started on September 12, with negotiations stalled over the basic framework of talks and an agenda still undecided.

"Continued high levels of violence can threaten the peace process and the agreement and the core understanding that there is no military solution" to the Afghan conflict, US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad, who negotiated a separate deal with the Taliban in February, has warned repeatedly.

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The new American president should make much efforts to bring peace in Afghanistan. Though, once Biden has told Karzai that Pakistan is 50 times more important than Afghanistan for them, while Afghanistan has its own importance and Pakistan has its own. As a superpower, America should act in the world as a kind country.


Ashraf Ghani cannot rule anymore. He should resign, because he was unable to protect the lives and properties of the civilians. Innocent people are killed every day, but government authorities have no plans other than condemning or disapproving them. If Ashraf Ghani cannot govern properly, he must surrender power to the Taliban. At least the killing and bloodshed will stop. It is not important for us that Ashraf Ghani has good economic programs for Afghanistan. The blood of a single human being which is shed is more valuable than tens of economic projects.