Miller: Violence must be reduced, Afghans want peace

KANDAHAR (TOLOnews): Gen. Miller, commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, while in Kandahar with Afghan security officials this week said: “The violence is too high. Taliban violence has to slow down–it has to stop. What it is driving is an increase in violence across the country.”

Gen. Austin S. Miller and Afghan security officials visited Kandahar on Wednesday to review the security situation in the southern province.

“What it is driving is an increase in violence across the country. Their violence has to come down. The world is watching. We have an opportunity for peace, which is what the people of Afghanistan are looking for,” Miller said.

He also said that during his visit there was discussion about “the need for work amongst the security pillars, cooperation amongst the security pillars. The police and the army are very important to the people of Afghanistan, as is the leadership of (Kandahar) governor (Hayatullah) Hayat. But it’s the cooperation between the different security forces that are making a difference here in Kandahar,” he mentioned.

Amid the ongoing efforts to start the face-to-face Afghan peace negotiations in Doha, the Taliban and the Afghan government are blaming each other for conducting major operations against each other and ramping up violence.

The Afghan government two days ago said the Taliban has initiated at least 7,000 military attacks over the last six months, which have killed and wounded nearly 3,500 civilians. But the Taliban rejected these numbers, saying that the government’s major operations in nine provinces have increased the conflicts with the group.

Violence is increasing much faster than the progress made in the Doha talks, where advance teams called “contact groups” are still trying to agree about the procedural rules as well as the agenda of the direct peace negotiations.

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