Taliban attacks continue in Afghanistan amidst Coronavirus
First published 28th April 2020
by Tom Warneke
Middle East| Understanding Your World | Resolving Incidents & Crisis
Despite ceasefires and other peace discussions that took place earlier in 2020, the Taliban are continuing their campaign of violence across Afghanistan.
Insurgents have ignored humanitarian pleas for a cease-fire amid the Coronavirus pandemic despite the country’s deteriorating health system. The Taliban have accused the United States of not upholding its end of the deal signed in February which ultimately proposed a prisoner swap for a withdrawal of American forces.
Last Wednesday, President Trump spoke with the Emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani about violence reduction and hoping to continue talks around the terms outlined in the agreement. Qatar is where the Taliban’s negotiating team is based.
Many parties globally are using the Coronavirus pandemic as a cloak or a tool to discuss ceasefires, appeasement and ultimately, peace. If the pandemic can’t bring the Afghan parties to the table, the momentum for peace built up following the agreement could pass. With this, violence and bloodshed would continue, all amidst the United States withdrawing their troops and resources.
At the time of writing, Afghanistan has a total of 1,703 cases alongside 57 fatalities but this is against a minimal backdrop of testing (just over 7,000) meaning the true figures are likely to be much higher.
The New York Times reports, “One senior Afghan official said the insurgents had launched an average of about 50 attacks per day over the past two weeks, and government records show as many as 100 attacks across the country on some days. A Western military official said the average over that period was over 70 attacks per day.”
However the Taliban of late are not rushing to publicise their attacks as urgently as they formerly did. Their media and online platforms are much quieter than usual.
The Peace Agreement
The peace agreement hasn’t been met with the rounds of applause but rather littered with compromise. It was also formed without the Afghan government, instead directly between the United States and the Taliban.
President Ashfaf Ghani did sign a decree on March 10th as a good will gesture allowing prisoner releases however since the decree, only 30% of the prisoners have actually been released.
CXG Analyst Alex Gale has written extensively on the agreement for InsightGlobal, you can read his article “Talks with the Taliban pave the way for US withdrawal but what next for Afghanistan?” here.
There are hopes that Ramadan will bring about a sense of peace. Indeed, Mr. Ghani last Thursday for the start of Ramadan, reiterated a call for a cease-fire.
“The wish of the Afghan people and government from the Taliban group is that in the current circumstances, where coronavirus has spread all over the country, accept our call for a cease-fire and peace in honor of the holy month,” he said.
We’ll continue following Afghanistan, the Taliban and the region as whole as things to develop. For more relating to the Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19), Afghanistan, the Taliban and what this all means for the region, head to www.complexglobal.co