The Afghan Ministry of Defense reported Taliban attacks on Afghan security forces in 18 separate provinces over the weekend. The reports come as Taliban forces sat with Afghan and U.S. government representatives in the open days of peace talk in Doha, Qatar.

Rohullah Ahmadzai, a spokesman for the Ministry of Defense said in statement to TOLONews that “the Afghan security and defense forces repelled the Taliban’s attacks and inflicted heavy losses on the group.”

Riaz Rabbani, head of the Kunduz provincial council said of attacks in Uruzgan, Kunduz and Helmand provinces that “armed opponents launched attacks on the security and defense forces, but the Taliban were repelled by the Afghan Air Force, which resulted in the killing of at least five Taliban fighters.”

Likewise was the report from Uruzgan, the historic heartland of the Taliban, where a spokesman for the governor reported that while armed groups launched attacks, the Afghan security and defense forces were able to repel them with no casualties. 

This new wave of attacks is most likely a form of saber rattling intended to put pressure on U.S. and Afghan government officials to acquiesce to the organization’s demands.

Lotufullah Mashal, a former frontman of the National Directorate of Security said in an interview with TOLONews that “the Taliban want to show their military power during the negotiations, they want to show that if you do not accept our demands, then [they] have the capacity to attack at any time and at any place.” 

Photo: Al Jazeera

What’s on the Table with the Doha Peace Talks?

The intra-Afghan peace negotiations began on Saturday, September 12th in Doha, Qatar. In addition to a contingent of Afghan government officials, U.S. government representatives, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were in attendance. The Taliban’s negotiating team is composed of 21 Taliban members. It is the first time since the collapse of the Taliban regime in 2001 that members of the three parties have sat for face-to-face meetings. 

Leading the Taliban members is Mawlavi Abdul Hakim Haqqani. A native of Kandahar, Haqqani is recognized as being one of the founding members of the Taliban and is known to have been a close friend and confidant to the organization’s founding leader Mullah Omar.