Clashes with Taliban jihadists killed at least 57 Afghan security force members Sunday across Afghanistan. The violent 24-hour period from Sunday to Monday marked the country’s “bloodiest” day of fighting since peace talks between the two sides began in Doha, Qatar, over a week ago, Reuters reported.
Afghan officials documented dozens of injuries in Sunday night’s clashes, as well. In the central province of Uruzgan, the Taliban attacked government security checkpoints killing 24 members of Afghan security forces, Uruzgan Deputy Governor Sayed Mohammad Sadat said.
Officials of several other provinces — including Baghlan, Takhar, Helmand, Kapisa, Balkh, Maidan Wardak, and Kunduz — reported “clashes and casualties” in their local communities, according to the news agency.
In northern Balkh, the Taliban allegedly “took hostage three members of Afghanistan’s spy organization,” Monir Ahmad Farhad, a spokesman for the province’s governor, said.
Although the Taliban has not confirmed casualties on its side, a spokesman for the Afghan military’s Pamir Army Corps said that Afghan forces killed 54 Taliban terrorists on Sunday night in clashes across Baghlan, Kunduz, and Takhar provinces. A spokesman for Maidan Wardak’s provincial government said that 26 Taliban fighters died in clashes there as well.
In attacks over the past two weeks, the Taliban has killed 98 civilians and injured 230 others, Afghanistan’s Ministry of Interior Affairs announced on Monday.
“The Taliban has inflicted the casualties on our countrymen in 24 provinces and the most casualties have been in Takhar and Nangarhar provinces,” Tariq Arian, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said.
Afghanistan’s TOLO News on Monday quoted an Afghan security source as saying that “an average of at least 30 security force members have been killed on a daily basis in Taliban attacks over the last two weeks.”
The violence continued on Monday, with the Taliban attacking Afghan security forces in Balkh, Kandahar, Takhar, and Kapisa provinces. At least 29 Afghan security force members were killed in the clashes.
Also on Monday, twin explosions rocked the capital, Kabul, killing one person and wounding three others, Afghanistan’s Khaama Press reported.
A spokesman for the Kabul police told the newspaper that a “roadside mine” caused the first blast that detonated around 9:00 am, injuring “at least three civilians.” Explosives planted near a roadside flower stand in a separate location caused the second blast, reported just ten minutes later and killing. at least one civilian, a child. No group has claimed responsibility for the explosions.
U.S.-brokered peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban began on September 12 in Doha. The Taliban refuses to recognize the Afghan government’s rule over the country as legitimate and regularly attacks Afghan security forces. The U.S. in February agreed to a phased withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan if the two sides held peace talks following a mutual prisoner swap.
Since the peace talks began, the two sides have reportedly made little headway.
“The almost daily meetings in Doha have been unable to make it past debating rules and regulations of the process, and the sides remain far apart on most matters,” including a much-needed ceasefire, which the Afghan public has recently advocated for.