Kunduz: Government officials told AFP on Wednesday that hours after U.S. President Donald Trump said he had a “very good” chat with insurgent political leaders, government officials told AFP on Wednesday that the Taliban had been attacked overnight Killed at least 20 Afghan soldiers and police.
Militants have intensified violence against Afghan security forces in recent days, ending a partial ceasefire agreement ahead of the landmark U.S.-Taliban withdrawal agreement signed in Doha on Saturday.
“Taliban fighters attacked at least three army outposts in Imam Sahib district of Kunduz last night, killing at least 10 soldiers and four police,” said Safiullah Amiri, a member of the provincial council.
A Defense Ministry official spoke to AFP anonymously to confirm tolls for the army, while provincial police spokesman Hejratullah Akbari confirmed the death of the police.
Insurgents also attacked police in central Uruzgan province on Tuesday night, and governor spokesman Zergai Ebadi told AFP: “Unfortunately, six police officers were killed, seven Injured. “
The violence has cast a shadow over the nascent Afghan peace process, with rebels clashed with Kabul over a prisoner exchange dispute before talks are scheduled to begin on March 10.
However, on Tuesday, Trump told reporters in Washington that he had a “very good” relationship with Mullah Baradar, the Taliban’s political leader, and the two spoke for 35 minutes on the phone.
“The relationship is very good that I have with the mullah. We had a good long conversation today and you know, they want to cease the violence, they’d like to cease violence also,” he said.
Trump touted the Doha agreement as the way to end American bloodshed, the 18-year-old presence of the US military in Afghanistan-just in time for his November re-election.
Under the terms of the agreement, U.S. and other foreign forces will withdraw from Afghanistan within 14 months, subject to security guarantees from the Taliban and promises from insurgents to hold talks with the Kabul National Government.
The agreement also includes a commitment to exchange 5,000 Taliban prisoners held by the Afghan government in exchange for 1,000 prisoners. Activists say this is a prerequisite for dialogue, but President Ashraf Ghani refused to do so before the talks began.