'Taliban killed over 290 Afghan security personnel in past week'
Iran Press TV
Monday, 22 June 2020 2:55 PM
The Taliban militants have killed at least 291 Afghan security personnel and injured 550 more over the past week, a top government official says.
In a Twitter post on Monday, Javid Faisal, spokesman for the National Security Council, accused the militants of unleashing a wave of violence ahead of potential talks.
He said the past week was the "deadliest" in the country's 19 years of conflict.
Faisal said the Taliban carried out 422 attacks in 32 provinces in the time.
"Taliban's commitment to reduce violence is meaningless, and their actions inconsistent with their rhetoric on peace."
Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban's spokesman in Afghanistan, rejected the latest government figures.
"The enemy aims to hurt the peace process and intra-Afghan talks by releasing such false reports," he said.
"We did have some attacks last week, but they were mostly in defense."
Kabul and Taliban have signaled that they were about to launch much-delayed peace talks.
President Ashraf Ghani has vowed to complete a Taliban prisoner release that is a key condition to beginning the peace negotiations.
The Taliban have said they are ready for peace talks but only after the release of the remaining 2,000 militants.
The authorities have already released about 3,000 Taliban prisoners, and plan to further free 2,000 as stipulated in a deal the militants signed with Washington in February. Under the agreement, the US will withdraw its forces from Afghanistan, and the Taliban will refrain from attacking international occupation forces. The militants, however, have made no pledge to avoid attacking Afghan forces and civilians.
The United Nations has recently warned of an alarming rise in violence against civilians and a "striking deterioration" in upholding international humanitarian law in Afghanistan.
On Sunday, the UN mission in Afghanistan released a report, raising concerns about 15 attacks on health workers and health care facilities during the coronavirus pandemic.
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