Afghan Forces Hit With Wave of Attacks on Eve of Taliban Talks
On Tuesday, one day before the first round of informal peace talks between Afghan politicians and representatives of the Taliban is set to begin in Russia, a sudden surge of violence between Afghan soldiers and Taliban fighters killed 40 people across different parts of Afghanistan. The pattern follows a well-known Taliban strategy of launching attacks right before the start of peace negotiations as a way of increasing the group’s leverage in the talks. The same happened prior to various rounds of peace talks with US representatives over the past months.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov on Tuesday made the case for a “total pullout” of foreign forces from Afghanistan, which comprise US and NATO troops. The Taliban claimed it was “committed for peace”.
While the Taliban participated in several rounds of peace talks with US officials over the past year, it previously refused to meet with representatives of Afghanistan’s government, which it consider to be a US puppet regime.