Fighting resumes in Afghanistan as ceasefire ends

Published May 17, 2021
Schoolgirls sit inside a classroom with bouquets of flowers on empty desks as a tribute to those killed in the brutal May 8 bombing of the Syed Al-Shahda girls school, in Kabul. - AP
Schoolgirls sit inside a classroom with bouquets of flowers on empty desks as a tribute to those killed in the brutal May 8 bombing of the Syed Al-Shahda girls school, in Kabul. - AP

KANDAHAR: Fighting between the Taliban and Afghan government forces resumed on Sunday in the restive southern province of Helmand, officials said, ending a three-day ceasefire agreed by the warring sides to mark the Eidul Fitr holiday.

Violence has soared as the United States military presses ahead with a plan to withdraw all of its troops by September, bringing an end to a 20-year military operation in Afghanistan.

Clashes between the Taliban and Afghan forces erupted early on Sunday when the insurgents attacked security checkpoints on the outskirts of Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province, said provincial council chief Attaullah Afghan.

An Afghan army spokesman in the south confirmed fighting had resumed as the three-day temporary truce ended late on Saturday.

The Helmand governor’s office said that 21 Taliban fighters had been killed in the morning fighting.

Fighting lasted several hours and ended later in the day, the Afghan army said, adding that more insurgent attacks were expected at night.

“They (Afghan forces) started the operation... do not put the blame on us,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said.

Washington has vowed to end America’s longest war, but missed a May 1 deadline to withdraw agreed with the Taliban last year in return for security guarantees and a promise to launch talks with the Afghan government.

President Joe Biden pushed back the date to September 11 — exactly two decades on from the terrorist attacks in the United States which led Washington to invade Afghanistan and oust the Taliban from power.

Nishank Motwani, an independent Afghanistan expert based in Australia, said the Taliban viewed the American withdrawal as a win.

“It gives the insurgents a proclamation of victory, bookends their removal and eventual return to power, and signals that the end is in sight for the Afghan republic in its current state,” he said.

Published in Dawn, May 17th, 2021

Opinion

Reservations about SNC
Updated 21 Jun 2021

Reservations about SNC

The volume of the subject matter to be covered in an academic year which is usually seven and a half months long is frightening.

Editorial

Poll consensus
Updated 21 Jun 2021

Poll consensus

If the govt is reluctant to take part in an APC on poll reforms, then it must ensure that parliament can be used for this purpose.
21 Jun 2021

Global displacement

THE number of globally displaced persons shared by the UN’s refugee agency in a report released on Friday is...
21 Jun 2021

KP budget

THE KP budget 2021-22 is a sort of please-all document that hands out something to almost everyone in the hope of...
20 Jun 2021

More vaccines needed

THE vaccination rate in the country has slowed in recent days and could result in a crisis if not addressed...
20 Jun 2021

Balochistan protest

THE clashes outside the Balochistan Assembly on budget day were unfortunate. But they had been waiting to happen. ...
Silent victims
Updated 20 Jun 2021

Silent victims

THE deafening silence of political authorities, including leaders from the religious right, on the Mufti Azizur...