Taliban Killed 129 Civilians, Wounded 291, In Past Month: NSC

The Office of the National Security Council (NSC) said that 129 civilians have been killed and 291 wounded in attacks by Taliban insurgents in the past month from June 17 to July 18.

A statement issued by the NSC on Saturday said that Taliban carried out 1,456 “terrorist activities” in the past month across 30 provinces.

“Taliban continued their violent campaign against Afghan civilians,” the NSC tweeted.

Most attacks were launched in cities and highways last month, despite the Taliban commitment to reduce violence.

The NSC said that in addition to suicide bombings, the Taliban have also carried out targeted assassinations and the planting of roadside and magnetic mines.

“Their widespread violence against civilians and civilian infrastructure is tantamount to war crimes,” the NSC wrote on Twitter.

Samangan province saw the most civilians injured, with many from the past week’s complex attack at the National Directorate of Security complex. However, Helmand was the most violent for civilians with 21 dead and 33 wounded.

NSC spokesperson Javid Faisal tweeted: “Taliban had a choice to cease the fire and halt taking innocent lives, instead, they chose to kill more and showed no will for peace. They killed and wounded 240 civilians, including women and children in the past month, and left many widows, orphans and destruction behind.”

Direct talks are set to begin after the exchange of 5,000 Taliban prisoners with 1,000 government prisoners is completed, but everyone has raised concern about the high level of Taliban violence in the country.

During President Ashraf Ghani’s visit to Ghazni province on Thursday, he reinforced that the people of Afghanistan will not allow the Taliban to establish an emirate and destroy the “republic.”

In another part of his speech, he said that the peace process will not move forward until the group has released all the Afghan prisoners.

“The reason why the process of releasing Taliban’s prisoners is moving forward is because I want the fate of every prisoner of the Afghan security and defense forces to be clear,” the leader said, adding, “The peace process will not go on until the fate of our heroes is clarified.”

With intra-Afghan talks imminent, the Taliban has also made changes to their negotiating team, first reported by Pakistan news outlets in June.

The group put Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob, son of the founder Mullah Omar, in charge of their military wing, while the supreme leader Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada shuffled members at the political office in Qatar to tighten his control over the movement.

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