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Sunday, September 24, 2023

Taliban accept responsibility for bombing training centre as Peace Deal crumbles

The Taliban have claimed responsibility for bombing a military training center in Helmand province, Afghanistan. The US-Taliban Peace Deal reached in February this year aimed to deescalate the militant attacks in Afghanistan & to find a peaceful way for American forces to exit. However, since the signing of the peace deal, attacks from the militants have increased that may jeopardize the peace initiatives.

The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the bombing of a military training center in the Helmand Province. Amid the failing peace process, the militant movement accuses Kabul of stalling on an agreed prisoner exchange.

“Dozens of members belonging to the enemy forces have been killed and wounded in the attack,” said Qari Yousuf Ahmedi, a spokesman for the Taliban, referring to the Sunday bombing.

The truck bomb attack in Nahri Saraj district in the south of the country killed at least five members of the Afghan security forces, TOLO news reported citing the provincial governor’s office. A security source said the blast “destroyed” the base and left as many as 18 dead.

Read more: Trump’s Mission: Exit Afghanistan, But will there be peace after the Americans leave?

It’s the latest episode of violence between the longtime warring parties, which are supposed to be on the path to peace talks following an agreement signed by the US and the Taliban in late February. The Taliban says the government has failed to release thousands of prisoners, which was promised to the insurgents under the terms of the deal.

There was an initial period of reduced violence following the signing of the deal, but attacks have intensified since then. The growing friction between the Taliban and the US, which presumably could lean on Kabul to speed things up, spilled into public view last Saturday in a rare direct Twitter spat.

The US-Taliban Peace Deal

After more than eighteen years of war in Afghanistan, the United States and the Taliban reached an agreement in what were both sides’ most intensive efforts yet to end the war.

Central to the deal is a significant drawdown of U.S. troops and guarantees from the Taliban that the country will not become a safe haven for terrorists.

From a specific departure deadline to a series of diplomatic and legal obligations, U.S. negotiators have provided in detail exactly what they intend to do in order to fulfill their end of the bargain. All of this was done — seemingly — to create an environment in which the Taliban felt the U.S. was operating clearly and in good faith.

Read more: Afghan peace deal risks collapse as violence spirals out of control in Afghanistan

Yet, the Taliban, in turn, have been obligated to very little that can be measured in any meaningful sense. Vagaries about ongoing negotiations with the Afghan government or the broad intent to keep Afghanistan safe from those who would collude with the Taliban against the U.S. and allied interests — these are not measurable, nor are they enforceable.

And why would we ever believe the Taliban would now break with al-Qaida et al, when under the hammer blows of 150,000 coalition troops and hundreds of thousands of Afghan security personnel, they wouldn’t.

Experts stress that the deal between U.S. President Donald J. Trump’s administration and the Taliban leadership is only the first step to achieving lasting peace.

The bigger challenge, they say, will be negotiating an agreement between the Islamist fundamentalist group and the Afghan government on Afghanistan’s future.

Many Afghans, exhausted by a war that has killed thousands of people and forced millions to flee as refugees, fear that a U.S. withdrawal could spark new conflict and eventually allow the Taliban to regain control.

Read more: Fresh wave of violence hit Afghanistan: Peace deal looks irrelevant

Sonny Leggett, the spokesman for the US forces in Afghanistan, called for de-escalation, saying: “Attacks generate attacks, while restraint produces restraint.” Taliban representative Zabihullah Mujahid tweeted back, calling statements such as this “pointless & provocative,” demanding that the US honor its obligations.

RT with additional input from GVS News Desk.