Taliban ‘to be suppressed’ if refuse talks: Resolute Support

KABUL (TOLONews): The Resolute Support Mission (RS) in Afghanistan on Friday warned that Taliban will be fought if they refuse to sit at the peace negotiations table and continue clashing with Afghan security and defense forces.

Resolute Support spokesman Colonel David Butler said war does not benefit any of the warring parties and asked Taliban to leave violence and start negotiations.

“If the Taliban wants to continue to fight, we will fight. If they want to stop fighting and talk, we will stop fighting and (will) talk,” said Butler.

However, he said if the group continues fighting, they will be suppressed. According to Butler, currently Afghanistan’s security and defense forces are on offensive status to fight the Taliban.

“The most important thing about putting military pressure on the Taliban is that the Afghan security forces are on the offensive. The Afghan security forces are off the check-points and taking the fight to the Taliban,” said Butler.

Quoting from New York Times, meanwhile, the US army reported that in 2018 foreign forces conducted more than 5,600 airstrikes against Taliban and other insurgent groups.

Butler also said Resolute Support endorses the airstrikes by Afghan forces, which according to him put Taliban under heavy pressure.

Ministry of Defense meanwhile said foreign airstrikes are needed in the current situation and the airstrikes play a key role in decreasing Taliban’s movements.

“Lots of insurgents have been killed in airstrikes, specially a number of their key commanders,” Ghafoor Ahmad Jawed, spokesman for the defense ministry said.

“Afghanistan security forces in cooperation with the Afghan Air Force launched more offensives against the enemies of the Afghan people in 2018 compared to the past years and in that year many Taliban commanders were killed,” Nusrat Rahimi, deputy spokesman of interior ministry said.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) however has said that increase of airstrikes increases the fatalities of civilians.

“The airstrikes should be conducted in complete cooperation with the Afghan forces,” Mirza Mohammad Yarmand, a former military officer said.

“Bombing without proper planning and accurate intelligence, I think is catastrophic,” Erfanullah Erfan, an MP said.

Reports indicate that in recent months civilians faced casualties from Afghan Air Force and foreign forces’ airstrikes in Nangarhar, Logar, Kandahar, Helmand and some other parts of the country.

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