June 20, 2018
ISLAMABAD — A pre-dawn Taliban attack in western Afghanistan Wednesday killed 30 members of government forces, the deadliest insurgent raid since a nationwide temporary cease-fire during the Muslim festival of Eid ul-Fitr.
Local officials said Taliban Insurgents assaulted Afghan National Army (ANA) posts in the Bala Murghab district in the Badghis province, triggering fierce clashes in the area, with both sides suffering casualties.
Provincial governor Abdul Ghafoor Malikzai told VOA the ANA lost 30 personnel when a convoy of soldiers heading to the fighting zone was ambushed by Taliban fighters.
A spokesman for the ministry of defense in Kabul confirmed to VOA that the clashes left 13 Afghan soldiers dead and eight others wounded.
Security officials in Badghis said Afghan forces also inflicted heavy casualties on the opposition, killing 15 Taliban assailants.
The Taliban ended its three-day ceasefire on Sunday while the government extended a unilateral weeklong ceasefire, initially due to end on Wednesday, by ten days. This was the first time in 17 years that Afghan warring sides temporarily suspended battlefield operations.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani hoped his initiative to suspend anti-Taliban security operations would encourage the insurgents to extend their ceasefire to pave the way for direct peace talks. The United States had also paused its operations against the Taliban to honor Ghani’s ceasefire.
But the Taliban refused to extend its ceasefire truce and has resumed battlefield attacks since Monday morning.
The insurgent group says no intra-Afghan negotiations are possible until all U.S.-led foreign troops leave Afghanistan.
The Taliban dismisses the Afghan government as a U.S. puppet and has repeatedly called for direct talks with Washington. The insurgent group blames the presence of U.S.-led foreign forces for initiating and prolonging the Afghan war.
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.