Kabul, Mar 3: A blast in eastern Afghanistan's Khost on Monday, which killed three and injured eleven, signaled the end of a period of relative calm in Afghanistan as the Taliban ordered its fighters to resume operations against the Afghan forces just two days after signing a deal with Washington aimed at ushering in the long elusive peace in the country.
Although no group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, the blast occurred around the same time as the Taliban ordered its fighters to recommence attacks against the Afghan army and police forces, apparently ending an official “reduction in violence” that had seen a dramatic drop in bloodshed.
The partial truce between the US, the Taliban and Afghan forces lasted for the week running up to the signing of the US-Taliban accord in Doha on Saturday, and was extended over the weekend.
“The reduction in violence... has ended now and our operations will continue as normal,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said.
He further added that “As per the (US-Taliban) agreement, our Mujahideen will not attack foreign forces but our operations will continue against the forces of Kabul government.”
Soon after this statement, the Taliban began attacking army positions in the northwest province of Badghis in which one soldier was killed according to a report by Dawn.
President Ashraf Ghani said on Sunday he would continue the partial truce at least until talks between Afghan officials and the Taliban kick off on March 10 in Oslo, though he rejected the clause for prisoner swap with the Taliban, which is one of the major demands of the Taliban.
The Doha deal includes a commitment to swap 5,000 Taliban prisoners held by the Afghan government in return for 1,000 captives, but Ghani said the US had no authority to negotiate such an exchange.
“Ghani’s stand shows that the Americans didn't do the groundwork before signing the agreement,” a Taliban source in Pakistan said. (UNI)