Published: Mon, April 15, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Afghan security forces kill 27 Taliban militants

Afghan security forces kill 27 Taliban militants

The spike in violence came a day after the Taliban announced their annual spring offensive, dealing a blow to expectations of a USA -led dialogue with the insurgent group to find a political end to the 18-year-old Afghan war and a reduction in violence during this year's fighting season.

"The killing of Afghans must stop".

The Taliban announced their spring offensive on Friday morning which is entitled Operation Al-Fatha - which means "victory" in Arabic.

"Our jihadi obligation has not yet ended", the Taliban said. The US is hoping to seal a draft agreement on counter-terrorism assurances, troop withdrawal, intra-Afghan dialogue, and a comprehensive ceasefire, before Afghan voters go to the polls in July.

A spokesman of the Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan, Dave Butler, said the coalition forces will continue to support the Afghan forces in the fight against the Taliban as the group has chosen violence despite an "amazing" opportunity forces.

"We also want to clarify that we are committed to the ongoing negotiations process and a peaceful resolution but can not remain indifferent to the military operations and ongoing crimes of the invaders and their internal supporters", Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said.

It shows "the enemy still seeks to attain its malicious objectives through the use of force", the Taliban said.

The ministry said the Afghan Defense and Security Forces will fight the Taliban and that the offensive announcement is "propaganda".

"The Taliban will not reach their vicious goals and their operations will be defeated like previous years", Mangal said.

The Taliban have long refused to speak officially with Kabul, dubbing the government a "puppet" of the West, and the militants have insisted that government officials are attending only in a "personal capacity".

The Taliban "want to enter the talks from the position of strength".

He predicted "intense" fighting for 2019, with the renewed bloodshed taking a toll on civilians.

The removal of Taliban's leaders name from UNSC black list happened when the second meeting of the Taliban and Afghan leaders is due to take place in Doha.

The insurgents effectively control almost half of Afghanistan and have continued to launch daily attacks on security forces despite holding several rounds of peace talks with the United States in recent months.

Omar Zwak, the provincial governor's spokesman, said the attacks had been repelled at the cost of four soldiers and 15 Taliban.

The armed confrontation between Kabul and the Taliban has been dragging on for years, with the insurgents perpetrating regular attacks across the country, and the government conducting anti-terrorist raids with support from the United States.

US President Donald Trump was reported previous year to be planning to withdraw about half of the 14,000 US forces in Afghanistan, adding pressure to secure a peace agreement with the Taleban to prevent the country collapsing.

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