Taliban holds passengers after Afghan bus attacks

21 August, 2018, 08:50 | Author: Clarence Schmidt
  • Afghan peace marchers arrive in Kabul on June 18

He said security forces would observe a ceasefire if the Taliban reciprocated and also called a truce. Afghan security forces battled the militants inside the city for five days, as the USA carried out airstrikes and sent advisers to help the Afghan ground forces.

President Ashraf Ghani said it would come into effect on Monday if the Taliban accepted, but the militants have not responded yet.

They have warned they will be releasing 500 prisoners, including some Afghan security forces.

Abdul Rahman Aqtash, police chief in neighboring Takhar province, said the passengers were from Badakhshan and Takhar provinces and were traveling to the capital, Kabul. Esmatullah Muradi, a spokesman for the governor in the northern province, said the Taliban have demanded the national identifications of the captives to determine their fate.

President Ashraf Ghani's spokesman Haroon Chakhansuri said on Monday military operations against the Taliban will continue, unless the group announces a formal ceasefire.

The identities of the captives have not been made public, but Mohammad Yusouf Ayubi, the head of the provincial council, said the insurgents likely targeted the three buses to try to abduct civil servants or members of the security forces.

This comes after Ghani announced a conditional ceasefire on Sunday.

On Sunday, Ghani said "the cease-fire should be observed from both sides, and its continuation and duration also depend on the Taliban's stand".

The Taliban had taken control of part of Bulcheragh district and more than 50 government forces were missing, he added.

"We deployed our people to different places of the main highway and started searching all vehicles passing through the road to capture Afghan army and policemen", a Taliban commander told NBC News on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media.

President Donald Trump's impatience with the 17-year-old war in has promptedU.S. diplomats and commanders to kick-start negotiations with the Taliban, including holding direct talks with the militants.

Earlier this month, the Taliban launched a major assault on the eastern city of Ghazni, just 120 kilometers (75 miles) from Kabul and the capital of a province with the same name.

More than 100 Afghan security forces personnel and up to 250 civilians died, according to early United Nations estimates.

In a message released on the occasion of Eid al-Adha, and without mentioning any cease-fire, Akhunzadah said the insurgents remain committed to "Islamic goals", the sovereignty of Afghanistan and ending the war.

The Western-backed government in Kabul has been struggling to fend off the Taliban and other militant groups since the withdrawal of most North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troops in 2014.



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