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Afghanistan imposes co-operation to curb the Taliban offensive

Updates in Afghanistan

Afghanistan has imposed a night curfew in most parts of the country as the government struggles to curb a relentless offensive by Taliban forces, who have captured the territory and critical border posts.

“To curb violence and limit Taliban movements, a nightmare has been imposed in 31 provinces across the country,” excluding Kabul, Panjshir and Nangarhar, the interior minister said on Saturday.

As the United States cancels its 20-year military mission in Afghanistan, with troops deployed by the end of August, the Taliban have made rapid gains across the country. Most of those victories came in depopulated rural territory, while Afghan security forces focused on protecting Kabul and the provincial capitals.

Power-sharing talks between the government of President Ashraf Ghani and the Taliban to reach a political solution and end the “war forever” have failed to achieve peace, despite concerted international pressure on the Islamist insurgents to lay down arms for a ceasefire. The Taliban have said they will continue to fight until a new government is negotiated in Kabul and Ghani is ousted from power.

On Friday after a call to Ghani, U.S. President Joe Biden said the Taliban offensive was in “direct contradiction to the movement’s claim to support a negotiated settlement of the conflict.” Biden is committed to continuing to support Afghan forces, including the allocation of $ 1 billion to the Afghan air force and the delivery of additional Black Hawk helicopters.

In recent weeks, the Taliban have been taking border passengers, threatening to deprive the government in Kabul of a crucial source of revenue and make them dependent on foreign aid.

Pakistan has replaced paramilitary units along its border with Afghanistan with regular army troops, a former government official told the Financial Times on Sunday, raising concerns that the effects of the the Taliban offensive could spread. More than 1,000 Afghan soldiers are reported to have fled to Tajikistan this month after clashes with Taliban militants.

“We don’t want it to be repeated in Pakistan,” the official said.

A provincial official in Peshawar said the introduction of the night curfew has particularly increased the risk of refugees passing across the border. “And people with [financial] the media is looking to part, especially from the cities, “the official said.” The population is very nervous. People are afraid of bloodshed. “

There are an estimated 3 million Afghan refugees in Pakistan, half of whom are registered, according to the UN.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Saturday that too large Afghan forces are “consolidating” to protect population areas, border crossings and major infrastructure. “As to whether or not to stop the Taliban, I think the first thing to do is to make sure [the Afghan government] can slow down the momentum, ”Austin told reporters in Alaska before a week-long Indo-Pacific trip.

According to Pentagon officials, the United States carried out airstrikes across the country last week to support Afghan security forces. The U.S. Central Command, which is in charge of military operations in Afghanistan, said Tuesday that the withdrawal was more than 95 percent complete, and that it had given seven structures to the Afghan Ministry of Defense.

Video: How the 20-year war has changed Afghanistan | FT Film


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