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Dostum says Taliban escalate assaults as leverage on peace talks

KABUL (AT News): The Second Vice President Abdul Rasheed Dostum on Friday said the Taliban have intensified their attacks across the country, especially the north, parallel to the ongoing peace negotiations, reasoning that this move was a pressure tactic to receive concessions.

Dostum arrived at the Aqcha and Faizabad districts of northern Jawzjan province, leading security forces to restore security in the districts. He said he would suppress the Taliban militants and that he had also consulted President Ashraf Ghani this time.

“These attacks are their [Taliban’s] last resort to receive privileges in the ongoing talks. That’s their purpose.”

A report by the Dostum office’s media wing issued to the Batoor TV channel read that the second vice president’s convoy also came under Taliban ambush on the way to Aqcha and Faizabad districts.

Dostum said he was spearheading a group of 2,000 security personnel and would create big headache for the militants. “We have won many such conflicts and will be victorious this time too. I have President Ghani’s consent and will report to him after this ends.”

This comes as recently there have been escalation in battles among the security forces and the Taliban in the north, especially Faryab province. Reportedly, at least 24 security personnel suffered casualties in a recent face-off with the rebels in Balcharagh district of the province. Dostum has earlier commanded security forces in such conflicts, especially in Faryab, but still the security situation there is deteriorating.

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