Taliban terrorist group ramped up attacks against Afghan people
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Affected Countries: afghanistan;
During the first three months of 2021, the Taliban stepped up attacks against the Afghan people, maintained close ties with Al Qaeda and actively planned for large-scale offensives — all while peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government failed to make any progress, according to a new report by the Defense Department’s Office of Inspector General.
“U.S. Forces-Afghanistan reported a historic increase in enemy-initiated attacks since the signing of the U.S.-Taliban agreement, with nearly 37 percent more enemy-initiated attacks this quarter than during the same period in 2020,” the report from the Pentagon’s internal watchdog said about Operation Freedom Sentinel, the name of the U.S. counterterrorism mission in Afghanistan.
Citing information provided by Resolute Support, the NATO mission in Afghanistan, the inspector general found that enemy-initiated attacks in the first and second quarters of fiscal year 2021 remained above historical averages, with 11,551 reported this quarter and 10,431 last quarter.
Enemy-initiated attacks for the past three quarters have been at the highest levels since Operation Freedom Sentinel began in January 2015, “indicating that the Taliban intensified attacks” against the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces “after the signing of the February 2020 U.S.-Taliban agreement,” the inspector general found.
The report cited analysis from the Defense Intelligence Agency saying that from Jan. 1 through March 31, the Taliban’s military strategy was to prepare for large-scale offensives against provincial centers, complex attacks against the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces’ bases and operations to degrade the Afghan forces’ capabilities.
In the first two months of 2021, the Taliban surrounded the provincial capitals of Baghlan, Helmand, Kandahar, Kunduz and Uruzgan provinces to prepare the offensives, and they continued assassinating government employees, security officials and journalists, the report says.
Citing information from the Defense Intelligence Agency, the report says that Al Qaeda continues to rely on the Taliban for protection and that ties between the two groups have strengthened.
At the same time, the Afghan Security Forces have conducted offensive operations against the Taliban, but the Defense Intelligence Agency reported that the offensives “did not accomplish anything of strategic value.”
Last month, the Biden administration announced that all U.S. troops would leave Afghanistan by Sept. 11, four months after the May 1 deadline set by the Trump administration’s peace agreement with the Taliban last year.
The inspector general’s report cited a Defense Intelligence Agency assessment that Taliban threats to resume hostilities against coalition forces if they did not withdraw by May 1 were credible and that the Taliban were very likely to respond with indirect fire, suicide bombings and attacks with vehicle-borne IEDs, or improvised explosive devices.
The U.S. began withdrawing troops on May 1. According to U.S. Central Command, 13 percent to 20 percent of the withdrawal process is complete and about 115 C-17 cargo planes with equipment and personnel have left Afghanistan. The U.S. has also handed over five bases to the Afghan Defense Ministry.
Source: NBC News