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Thursday, June 17, 2021

Unprecedented Taliban violence in 2020 carries into 2021

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UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Taliban insurgents present no signal of lowering the extent of violence in Afghanistan to facilitate peace negotiations with the federal government, and seem like attempting to strengthen their army place as leverage, with the “unprecedented violence” of 2020 carrying into 2021, U.N. specialists stated in a brand new report circulated Friday.

The panel of specialists stated the Taliban are reported to be accountable for the good majority of assassinations which have grow to be a characteristic of the violence in Afghanistan, focusing on authorities officers, girls, human rights defenders and journalists amongst others. These assaults “seem like undertaken with the target of weakening the capability of the federal government and intimidating civil society,”it stated.

Within the 22-page report back to the U.N. Safety Council, the panel stated the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO forces by Sept. 11, the anniversary of the 2001 terrorist assaults on the USA, “will problem Afghan forces by limiting aerial operations with fewer drones and radar and surveillance capabilities, much less logistical assist and artillery, in addition to a disruption in coaching.”

The Taliban have been ousted from energy in Afghanistan in 2001 by a U.S.-led coalition for harboring Osama bin Laden, the architect of the Sept. 11 assaults.

A peace deal that Washington brokered with the Taliban and signed in February 2020 was aimed toward bringing American troops dwelling and ending greater than 4 many years of relentless wars following the 1979 Afghan invasion by forces from the previous Soviet Union.

Negotiations between the Taliban and Afghan representatives started final September in Doha, Qatar and continued earlier this yr. However the Taliban introduced on April 13 — a day earlier than President Joe Biden’s announcement that each one U.S. troops would depart by Sept. 11 — that it could not participate in any convention supposed to resolve the way forward for Afghanistan till all international troops have been gone.

The U.N. specialists, who monitor sanctions towards the Taliban, predicted extra violence within the run-up to their departure.

“Taliban rhetoric and studies of energetic Taliban preparations for the spring combating season point out the group is more likely to enhance army operations for 2021, whether or not or not a spring offensive is introduced,” they stated.

The specialists additionally questioned how Afghan forces would fare with out coalition assist.

“Afghan forces have efficiently reversed many Taliban positive aspects with the help of worldwide coalition shut air assist, however have finished so with heavy casualty charges,” they stated. “It stays to be seen how Afghan forces will carry out with out it.”

The panel of specialists painted a grim image of the violence in Afghanistan, which had been anticipated to lower in 2020 however as an alternative soared to the very best stage ever recorded by the United Nations within the nation — greater than 25,000 incidents, a ten% enhance over 2019.

Violence surged because the Doha talks started, the specialists stated, and incident charges within the often calmer winter have been larger than these within the spring or summer season of 2020.

“Unprecedented violence over the winter carried into 2021, with 7,177 safety incidents recorded countrywide between Jan. 1 and March 31, representing a 61 % enhance over the identical interval in 2020,” they stated.

The panel stated the variety of Taliban fighters stays strong, with estimates starting from about 58,000 to 100,000.

The panel stated many sources its members spoke to — which embody governments — imagine the Taliban used the 2020 combating season “to additional strengthen strangleholds round a number of provincial capitals, searching for to form future army operations when ranges of departing international troops are now not in a position to reply.”

Whereas nobody claimed duty for many assassinations, the specialists stated it’s broadly believed that roughly 85 % of them have been carried out by the Taliban. The U.N. recorded a rise in reported assassinations from 780 in 2019 to 996 in 2020, the report stated.

As a part of the U.S.-Taliban deal, the Taliban was supposed to cut back violence and half methods with al-Qaida, the extremist group that the Taliban sheltered previous to the 9/11 assaults.

However the specialists stated ties between the Taliban and al-Qaida “stay shut, primarily based on ideological alignment, relationships solid by frequent wrestle and intermarriage.”

“The Taliban has begun to tighten its management over al-Qaida by gathering info on international terrorist fighters and registering and limiting them,” the panel stated. “Nonetheless, it has not made any concessions on this regard that it couldn’t simply and rapidly reverse, and it’s not possible to evaluate with confidence that the Taliban will stay as much as its dedication to suppress any future worldwide menace emanating from al-Qaida in Afghanistan.”

Al-Qaida is reported to quantity from a number of dozen to 500 folks, primarily nationals from north Africa and the Center East, it stated.

The specialists stated al-Qaida and different militants proceed to rejoice developments in Afghanistan “as a victory for the Taliban’s trigger and thus for world radicalism.”

In line with U.N. member states, al-Qaida is current in at the very least 15 provinces primarily within the east, south and southeast and a big a part of its management stays primarily based within the border area of Afghanistan and Pakistan, the panel stated. Its chief, Ayman al-Zawahri, “is believed to be situated someplace within the border area,” it stated.

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