HERAT -- Officials in Afghanistan's western region say the Taliban have increased fighting and violence since April 12, the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan.
During the first week of Ramadan, the Taliban carried out more than 100 attacks in Herat, Farah, Badghis and Ghor provinces.
The Taliban have launched 40 terrorist attacks across the province during the first eight days of Ramadan, Herat Governor Sayed Wahid Qatali said Tuesday (April 20).
The Taliban carried out car bombings in Zindajan and Ghorian districts and attempted one in Shindand district. Security forces defused the bomb in Shindand before it could reach its target, he said.
The bombing in Ghorian wounded 12 civilians and damaged a number of houses. Women and children were among the casualties.
Meanwhile, the Taliban attack in Zindajan killed at least three security personnel and wounded eight civilians, including three women and two children.
The Taliban are misusing the current opportunity for peace talks and Afghan national security forces' defensive mode by escalating attacks on many Herat districts, said Qatali.
A Taliban suicide car bomber also detonated a vehicle full of explosives near a police station in Farah city on the first day of Ramadan, Farah Governor Taj Muhammad Jahid said Tuesday.
"The Taliban baselessly think they will gain more rewards as they continue to kill Afghans during Ramadan," he said.
The Taliban have launched terrorist attacks in Farah city and a number of districts in Farah province every night since the start of the holy month, and security forces have responded, according to Jahid.
The Taliban perpetrated 25 attacks in the Moqor, Ab Kamari and Qadis districts of Badghis province in the first eight days of Ramadan, said Badghis Governor Hesamuddin Shams.
The Taliban's attempts to strike have doubled in recent weeks, but security forces have foiled them all, he added.
"The Taliban are equipped by some countries with modern weapons, and they are now able to attack security forces during the night," Shams said. "Among these weapons, there are some equipped with night-vision binoculars that the Taliban have recently received."
In Ghor province, the Taliban have carried out over ten attacks between April 12 and 20 near Firoz Koh city, and in Dawlatyar and Taywara districts, according to Ghor Governor Abdul Zahir Faizzada.
"Our brave security forces have repelled the Taliban attacks," he said. "The Taliban do not have the ability to face our security forces, and they were defeated in every single attack."
"They [the Taliban] do not believe in peace and negotiation."
"The only rationale of this terrorist group is the killing and bloodshed of Afghans," he said.
Against Islamic values
The killing of civilians and security forces by the Taliban is haram, say religious scholars. Theyare urging the Taliban to immediately cease their attacks.
The ongoing war in Afghanistan is being imposed on Afghans and is entirely against Islamic values, said Mawlawi Jalaluddin, a religious scholar in Herat city who gave only his first name.
"Muslim scholars from around the world have recently issued a fatwa saying the ongoing fighting in Afghanistan is not justifiable and therefore it is illegitimate," he said.
"Violence and fighting must stop now to avoid the killing of innocent Afghans, including the elderly, women and children," he added.
"The Taliban are committing a huge sin by shedding the blood of security forces and civilians during the holy month of Ramadan," Jalaluddin said.
"The Taliban will never be forgiven for this act."
The fighting is not jihad, and there is no place for it in Islam, said Abdul Khaliq Haqqani, Herat province's director of Hajj and Religious Affairs.
"Muslims do not have any attachment to violence and fighting," he added.
"The Taliban are killing innocent Afghans every day, and this act of the Taliban is illegal and against Islamic principles," Haqqani noted.
Killing the innocent is not allowed in Islam, said Mawlawi Nizamuddin Habibi, a religious scholar in Firoz Koh, the capital of Ghor province.
"The holy month of Ramadan is the month of peace and forgiveness," he said. "The shedding of Muslim Afghans' blood by the Taliban is haram, and the Taliban must stop this illegitimate act without hesitation."
The Taliban are not refraining from bloodshed during Ramadan, and they are undermining the holiness of this special month, Habibi said. "This act of the Taliban is not forgivable, and they will severely be punished by Allah."
He called on the Taliban to respect the holy month of Ramadan and stop killing the innocent so that Afghans can perform religious rituals, pray in mosques and observe Ramadan peacefully.
Respecting Muslims' lives and property is a core principle in Islam, but the Taliban reject these principles by shedding innocent Afghans' blood daily, said Mawlawi Nisar Ahmad Anis, a religious scholar in Qala-e-Naw, the capital of Badghis province.
"Carrying out suicide and bomb attacks on houses or public gatherings is forbidden in Islam," he said. "By carrying out such attacks, the Taliban have repeatedly proven their hostility towards Muslims and the teachings of Islam."
The Taliban do not care about Afghans' religious beliefs because they do not believe in Islamic principles themselves, Herat provincial council deputy chairman Toryalai Taheri said.
"People were expecting the Taliban to abandon violence during the holy month of Ramadan. However, they [the Taliban] instead have recently intensified fighting and the killing of innocent Afghans," he said.
"This clearly indicates that the Taliban have no desire for peace and stability, and they just want to continue their fighting and the killing of innocent Afghans," Taheri said.