Afghan spox says Taliban attacks kill over 350 civilians, injure hundreds

Afghan spox says Taliban attacks kill over 350 civilians, injure hundreds

News follows top US envoy again urging warring parties to reduce violence and ultimately reach ceasefire

News Service AA

Afghanistan on Saturday claimed that over 1,000 civilians have been killed or wounded in attacks by the Taliban over the last two-plus months.

In the past 70 days, the Taliban killed 387 civilians while wounding 590 and abducting 200 others, Tariq Aryan, Interior Ministry spokesman, told a press conference in the capital Kabul.

"In response to these attacks, Afghan forces while maintaining a posture of defensive offense killed around 1,400 Taliban," he added.

The news follows the top US envoy on Friday urging the warring parties once again to reduce violence and ultimately reach a ceasefire.

In a series of tweets, Zalmay Khalilzad said the violence from the Taliban has generated a violent response from government forces resulting in “escalatory cycle,” which he described as “complex but inarguably a negative trend that must be reversed.”

"Delay means more civilian losses from Afghans fighting each other when the real war should be Afghans united against COVID-19," he tweeted.

Earlier this week, the UN mission in Afghanistan blamed the Taliban and other insurgent groups for 52% of 533 civilians killed in the first quarter of 2020, including over 150 children.

The Taliban rejected the report, blaming air and ground offensives by government forces for the bulk of civilian casualties.

The rejuvenated yet fragile Afghan peace process remains at an impasse as differences persist over a proposed prisoner exchange, launch of intra-Afghan talks, and a subsequent ceasefire.


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