Afghan security forces stand near an armoured vehicle during ongoing fighting between Afghan security forces and Taliban fighters in the Busharan area on the outskirts of Lashkar Gah, the capital city of Helmand province May 5, 2021. - American warplanes were backing Afghan forces against a major Taliban offensive in the south of the country even as the US military pressed on with a troop withdrawal, officials said on May 5. Fierce fighting has erupted in Helmand province since the weekend, when the US military formally began withdrawing its remaining troops. (Photo by Sifatullah ZAHIDI / AFP)

Fighting erupted in Afghanistan as soon as three-day ceasefire between the Taliban and the government ended on Sunday.

According to Afghan media, the Defense Ministry said that the Taliban violated the ceasefire in 21 provinces and that 21 civilians were killed and 33 were wounded in their attacks during the three days of Eid (May 13 to 15).

However, the Taliban has denied violating the ceasefire.

Abdul Zahir Atal, the police chief of Dawlatshah district in Laghman, succumbed to injuries in a clash with the Taliban, a local official said.

In Helmand, meanwhile, Afghan forces launched operations on the outskirts of Lashkargah city and Nahre Saraj district in which at least 20 Taliban were killed, the Defense Ministry said.

“There are clashes in Nawa district. There were sporadic attacks on an outpost on the outskirts of Lashkargah city. Now, the fighting has escalated. We expected the ceasefire to continue,” said Ataullah Afghan, head of the Helmand provincial council.

According to information provided by security agencies, 18 provinces witnessed ceasefire violations by the Taliban from May 13 to May 15. 

A Taliban spokesman denied violating the ceasefire and said that some bombs that were placed before the ceasefire detonated and caused casualties. 

“The Taliban’s ‘terrorist’ activities continued during the three days of ceasefire in which 21 civilians were martyred and 33 were wounded,” said Fawad Aman, a spokesman for the Ministry of Defense. “Their terrorist activities continued after the ceasefire.”

The Taliban had announced a unilateral ceasefire on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr and the Afghan government reciprocated their offer.

However, both sides accused each other of committing violations and causing civilian casualties during three days of Eid festivities. 

Meanwhile, President Ashraf Ghani discussed post-ceasefire situation with military commanders on Saturday night by video conference. 

He ordered them to conduct operations against the Taliban if they continue violence.

“Nothing has been achieved or will be achieved by violence. If they think that they will win militarily, they are wrong. Afghan people will never surrender,” said Basir Osmani, an MP from Badghis.


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