Taliban Violence intensifies ahead of Afghan Elections
Over the past couple of weeks, Afghanistan has witnessed an increasing number of deadly attacks from shootings to suicide bombing and IED attacks.
On Saturday, Oct 13, Taliban killed at least 22 security forces, including a district police chief in separate attacks on security checkpoints in two Afghan provinces. The police chief of Mizan, a district in Southern Zabul province was killed in armed clashes with Taliban militants on Saturday night, according to a statement by provincial governor Rahmutallah Yarmal. Taliban fighters also killed 21 troops and captured 11 soldiers and seized their weapons in the western province of Farah at two checkpoints in the district of Posht-e Rud.
The militant group claimed the attacks which came a week after it vowed to attack and disrupt Afghan elections in a statement ordering its fighters to attack the authorities and security forces who are helping to organize this month’s parliamentary elections in Afghanistan. The militant group ordered Afghans to boycott the long-delayed elections set for Oct 20. saying that the polls are a tool used by the US to legitimize its authority and presence in the country.
The Taliban statement on Monday called on all U.S. and NATO forces to leave Afghanistan, saying this is the only way to end the war, which marked its 17th anniversary on Sunday.
The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) warned in a new report on Sunday that insurgent plotted suicide attacks and other improvised explosive devices or IEDs continue to inflict civilian casualties.
Between 1 January and 30 September 2018, UNAMA documented 3,634 civilian casualties (1,065 deaths and 2,569 injured) from suicide and non-suicide IED attacks. These casualty figures include 247 women casualties (72 deaths and 175 injured) and 608 child casualties (155 deaths and 453 injured)
The U.S. envoy will also travel to neighboring Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar where the Taliban maintains its so-called “Political Office”.
The vote, seen by the Afghan government's international partners as a dry run for presidential elections next year, has been hindered by chaotic preparations, allegations of fraud and fear of militant violence.
The insurgent group has ruled out talks with the Kabul government and has been demanding direct negotiations with the U.S., blaming it for starting the war.