The Taliban on Monday said they were resuming operations against Afghan security forces, ending the partial truce that preceded the signing of an accord between the United States and insurgents last week, AFP reported.
Under the agreement, the United States is committed to reducing the number of its troops in Afghanistan to 8,600 from 13,000 within 135 days of signing. It also is committed under the deal to work with allies to proportionally reduce the number of coalition forces in Afghanistan over that period, if the Taliban forces adhere to their security guarantees and ceasefire.
The agreement also called for up to 5,000 Taliban prisoners to be released in exchange for up to 1,000 Afghan government captives by March 10. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, not involved in the talks, rejected that demand.
“The reduction in violence...has ended now and our operations will continue as normal,” Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid told AFP. “As per the agreement, our mujahideen will not attack foreign forces but our operations will continue against the Kabul administration forces.”
Deputy spokesperson for the defence ministry, Fawad Aman, said the government was “checking to see if [the truce] had ended”. He added that there have been no reports of any big attack in the country so far.
The truce went on for one week ahead of the signing of the historic accord in Doha on Saturday. The fall in attacks allowed people of Afghanistan to go about their daily lives without fear of violence.
Meanwhile, China on Monday welcomed the deal and called for “orderly and responsible” withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan to avoid a security vacuum and prevent the terrorist groups from getting stronger in Afghanistan, PTI reported. “We hope taking this as an opportunity, the seed of peace can grow and prosper in Afghanistan,” foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said.
A full withdrawal of all US and coalition forces would occur within 14 months, Washington and Kabul had said in a joint statement. The Afghan war has been in stalemate for more than 18 years, with Taliban forces controlling or contesting more territory yet unable to capture and hold major urban centres. The US has spent over $750 billion in Afghanistan after the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, left nearly 3,000 people dead in New York.