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World Taliban Threatens Renewed Fighting in Afghanistan, Blaming U.S. for Breaking Ceasefire

17:36  18 october  2020
17:36  18 october  2020 Source:   newsweek.com

As violence flares in south Afghanistan, key questions answered

  As violence flares in south Afghanistan, key questions answered Days of fighting in Helmand prompt mass displacement and raise doubts about prospects for peace despite ongoing talks.A major Taliban assault last week on Lashkar Gah, capital of the southern Helmand province, sparked days of intense fighting and prompted the United States to launch air attacks in support of its allied government forces.

The Taliban ended its three-day ceasefire on Sunday while the government extended a unilateral The insurgent group blames the presence of U . S The U . S .-led international military alliance ousted the Taliban from power in 2001 to punish it for harboring the al-Qaida terrorist network in Afghanistan .

The Taliban –ISIL conflict in Afghanistan is an ongoing armed conflict between the Islamist factions of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant' s branch in Afghanistan and the Taliban , as well as groups affiliated with ISIL and Taliban splinter factions dissatisfied with the group' s leadership.

The Taliban has accused the U.S military of repeatedly violating the peace deal signed between the two sides in Doha in February, and warned that Washington, D.C., must shoulder the blame for subsequent violence.

a group of people that are standing in the dirt: Security personnel and residents gather around the site of a car bomb attack that targeted an Afghan police headquarters in Feroz Koh, the capital of Ghor Province on October 18. © Getty/AFP via Getty Images Security personnel and residents gather around the site of a car bomb attack that targeted an Afghan police headquarters in Feroz Koh, the capital of Ghor Province on October 18.

Taliban spokesperson Qari Muhammad Yousuf Ahmadi issued a statement Sunday condemning recent American airstrikes on militants in Afghanistan's Helmand province and threatening retaliation.

Caught in crossfire: ‘They fight and we die’

  Caught in crossfire: ‘They fight and we die’ Civilians fled if they could as fighting erupted between the Taliban and Afghan troops in Helmand.The 25-year-old teacher is struggling to recall how he managed to dodge shellfire and save the 25 members of his family from fighting raging once more in Helmand in southern Afghanistan.

Afghanistan ' s President Ashraf Ghani has announced the release of up to 2,000 Taliban prisoners, after the Islamist group proposed a ceasefire . The announcement came shortly after the Taliban agreed the surprise three-day truce with Mr Ghani' s government for the Muslim festival of Eid al-Fitr.

Earlier, Taliban fighters killed dozens of Afghan security force members. Government forces will not stop fighting other militants operating in Afghanistan , like the Islamic State (IS) Afghan officials hailed the Taliban ' s move to join the ceasefire . The UN special representative for Afghanistan

Violence in Afghanistan has continued despite the February peace deal between the U.S. and the Taliban. Talks are ongoing between the Afghan government and the Taliban, though President Donald Trump has nonetheless pushed ahead with a planned withdrawal from the country.

The U.S. conducted several airstrikes against Taliban targets in Helmand last week in support of Afghan government forces. Colonel Sonny Leggett, the spokesperson for U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said the missions were to defend under-attack Afghan troops and did not violate the Doha agreement.

But Ahmadi said Sunday the action was unacceptable. "American forces have violated the Doha agreement in various forms by carrying out excessive airstrikes following the new developments in Helmand province," he said in the Taliban statement.

US air raids target Taliban fighters advancing on key Afghan city

  US air raids target Taliban fighters advancing on key Afghan city The US conducted ‘targeted strikes in Helmand’ to defend Afghan troops, military spokesman says.Fierce battles broke out in recent days after the Taliban attacked several security outposts on the outskirts of the provincial capital of Lashkar Gah. Some 1,500 families are reported to have fled the continuing fighting.

The Taliban announced a ceasefire on Thursday in areas of Afghanistan affected by the Chinese coronavirus, allowing medical teams Zabiullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesperson, said via Twitter that the Taliban would “stop fighting ” in areas under the group’ s control, provided that those areas are

Dozens of Taliban members entered the Afghan capital on Saturday. They were unarmed and were met with greetings and hugs by civilians and soldiers in a ceasefire attempt for the Eid holiday. Fighters with Afghanistan ' s Taliban militia © AFP.

"According to the Doha agreement, the American forces are prohibited from carrying out airstrikes or targeting anyone in areas other than combat zones or during active fighting," he added, noting U.S. strikes in multiple locations.

"All contents of the U.S.-Islamic Emirate agreement are unambiguous, but the opposite side has violated its commitments on numerous occasions, are engaging in provocative actions and bombing non-combat zones," Ahmadi added, using the former name of the country when it was under Taliban rule—the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

"All responsibility and consequences from continuation of such actions shall fall squarely on the shoulders of the American side," Ahmadi said.

General Scott Miller—commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan—meanwhile urged the Taliban to stop offensive operations against government troops. Despite the February peace deal and ongoing inter-Afghan talks, the Taliban have launched multiple operations around the country in recent months.

Armenia, Azerbaijan trade accusations of breaching Karabakh ceasefire

  Armenia, Azerbaijan trade accusations of breaching Karabakh ceasefire Armenia and Azerbaijan traded accusations of new attacks on Saturday in breach of a ceasefire deal to end nearly two weeks of heavy fighting over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. The two sides agreed to implement the ceasefire from noon (0800 GMT) Saturday, after 11 hours of talks in Moscow, but it took only minutes after the deadline for their forces to claim new attacks. An ethnic Armenian enclave of Azerbaijan, Karabakh broke from the country's control in a war in the 1990s that killed some 30,000 people.

That year US -led combat operations against the Taliban , the main insurgent group in Afghanistan , officially ended, but some American troops remain in the country to provide training and assistance to Afghan forces, which do most of the fighting .

A ceasefire between government forces in Afghanistan and the Taliban has ended with reports of renewed fighting . The end of the three-day ceasefire came after hundreds of Taliban prisoners were released as part of a US deal with the insurgent group.

"The Taliban need to immediately stop their offensive actions in Helmand Province and reduce their violence around the country," Miller said in a statement tweeted out by Leggett. "It is not consistent with the US-Taliban agreement and undermines the ongoing Afghan Peace Talks."

Despite the violence, Trump prompted confusion when he tweeted last week: "We should have the small remaining number of our BRAVE Men and Women serving in Afghanistan home by Christmas."

National security adviser Robert O'Brien later said Trump's message was a wish rather than a commitment. "I think what the president was doing is, he was expressing the same desire I think every president since the Revolutionary War has said," O'Brien said.

"Whenever we're at war, whether it was the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, World War I or World War II, all presidents... want the troops home by Christmas." O'Brien said the U.S. would aim to cut its Afghan deployment to 2,500 by early in 2021.

This was at odds with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley, who said recently that the Pentagon will cut its Afghan footprint to 4,500 troops in November, but that any talk of further cuts would be "speculation."

New fighting over Karabakh despite ceasefire .
A new ceasefire agreed between Armenia and Azerbaijan to halt fighting over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh was again failing to hold on Monday as both sides accused each other of fresh attacks. The truce, backed by international mediators to put a stop to three weeks of fighting that has left hundreds dead, was supposed to have come into force at midnight Sunday but both sides immediately accused each other of violating the deal. TheThe truce, backed by international mediators to put a stop to three weeks of fighting that has left hundreds dead, was supposed to have come into force at midnight Sunday but both sides immediately accused each other of violating the deal.

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