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Monday, October 25, 2021

Intra-Afghan clashes leaves 100 dead despite ‘calls for calm’ amid US pullout


Clashes between Afghan government forces and the Taliban has left 100 insurgents dead, despite recent ‘calls for calm.’

Clashes that erupted between Afghan government forces and the Taliban has left more than 100 insurgents dead in the past 24 hours, as the US handed over Camp Antonik in the southern Helmand province to Afghan forces.

The US officially began the withdrawal of its remaining troops from Afghanistan on May 1.

Since then, Afghanistan’s Ministry of Defence has reported clashes between the Taliban and government forces across several provinces, including in Kandahar where the US military carried out a “precision strike” on Saturday.

This comes as Russia, the US, China, and Pakistan have called on all parties involved in the Afghan conflict to reduce the level of violence in Kabul, urging the Taliban to “fulfil its counterterrorism commitments” and not to pursue its spring offensive.

The call for calm came during the latest Troika [Pakistan, the US, Russia and China] meeting in Qatar on Saturday, where the bloc released a 14-point joint statement regarding the ongoing Afghan peace process.

The parties also engaged in discussions to reach a “negotiated settlement and a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire“. Representatives from Troika also held meetings with officials from the Afghan government and the Taliban in Qatar.

Read also: ‘Extended Troika’ urges calm as US begins troop withdrawal

Another 52 Taliban fighters were wounded in the clashes, and no details of any casualties suffered by government forces were disclosed by the ministry.

Afghan officials said all foreign troops were being taken to Bagram, the biggest American base in Afghanistan, and from there would leave to their respective countries.

Camp Antonik will reportedly be used by Afghanistan’s special forces that have been trained in counter-terrorism operations by the US military and NATO.

Afghanistan has been witnessing a surge in violence since US President Joe Biden’s announcement to pull out all American and NATO forces by September 11th, instead of the May 1st deadline that was stipulated in a February agreement signed with the Taliban in Doha last year.

This prompted a warning from the Taliban that the US military had violated the 2020 accord by not finishing the troop withdrawal by May 1.

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