The Afghan Taliban has announced that the “reduced violence period” is over and declared the resumption of military action against the Afghanistan forces, a Taliban official told AFP.
After the announcement and two days after the historic peace deal, three people have been killed and 11 injured in a motorcycle bomb attack at a football match in eastern Afghanistan.
The Afghan authorities and the Taliban agreed to a “reduced violence period” in the country, which began at midnight on February 22. Reuters reported that the agreement was supposed to last seven days.
On February 29, a peace treaty between the US and the Taliban was signed in Doha. According to the peace deal, the intra-Afghan talks are deemed to begin on March 10. As a confidence-building measure, the Taliban agreed to release 1,000 prisoners, while the Kabul government is to free 5,000 Taliban supporters before March 10.
Those talks appeared to be in danger, as the Kabul government refused to release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners before the negotiations started, an offer made by the US as part of its agreement with the Taliban.
“The Afghan government has not made any commitment to release 5,000 Taliban prisoners before the start of any potential negotiation,” said Sediq Sediqqi, a spokesman for Ghani, adding that the prisoner exchange “cannot be a requisite for talks”, and instead should be part of the negotiations.
A Taliban spokesman said there would be no peace talks without the release of prisoners.
Experts had earlier warned to be prepared over a serious differences on the prisoner swap. It specified that up to 5,000 Taliban prisoners would be released by 10 March in exchange for only 1,000 government soldiers held by the insurgents. A parallel agreement the US signed with the Kabul government had only hazy language about prisoner swap.
“The reduction in violence … has ended now and our operations will continue as normal,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told the AFP. “As per the [US-Taliban] agreement, our mujahideen will not attack foreign forces but our operations will continue against the Kabul administration forces.”