Afghan forces step up pressure on Taliban in northern region
CGTN

Afghan security forces have stepped up pressure on the Taliban outfit in the northern provinces as 10 militants have been killed and 12 others captured in a single day on Sunday, officials said.

In the crackdown on militants, the government forces attacked Taliban positions in Sayad district of the northern Sari Pul province early Sunday, killing 10 militants and injuring five others, provincial government spokesman Zabihullah Amani has confirmed.

Amani has also confirmed that the fighting had left seven security personnel dead and five others sustained injuries, the Taliban militants, an official asserted, have fled the area.

Similarly, the government forces in operations against Taliban fighters in Khawja Sabzposh district of the northern Faryab province have captured 10 armed insurgents, including two local commanders Mullah Azatullah and Mullah Gul Ahmad, said a statement of National Directorate for Security or the country's spy agency.

Afghan forces, according to the security officials, would continue to keep on pressure on anti-government militants in the chilly winter to reduce the military capabilities of the militant groups before spring which is known as fighting season in Afghanistan.

On the same day, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani offered the Taliban the possibility of opening an office in Afghanistan, but the proposal was swiftly shunned by the group that is determined to keep his government out of accelerating peace talks.

Ghani has expressed alarm at the Taliban shutting his administration out of negotiations with the United States as well as recent Moscow talks with Afghan opposition politicians, and repeated earlier offers to give the group a secure official address to aid any future diplomacy between the two sides.

Head of Political Office of the Taliban Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanakzai (front L) and Former President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai (front R) greet each other after the peace talks on Moscow format at the President Hotel in Moscow, Russia on February 6, 2019. /VCG Photo

Head of Political Office of the Taliban Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanakzai (front L) and Former President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai (front R) greet each other after the peace talks on Moscow format at the President Hotel in Moscow, Russia on February 6, 2019. /VCG Photo

Taliban officials in Moscow last week stressed the importance of a formal office among a string of demands that included the removal of Western sanctions and travel bans on Taliban members, prisoner releases and an end to “propaganda” against the group.

Taliban spokesman Sohail Shahin later told Reuters that the focus was international recognition of their existing site in Doha, Qatar.

(Cover: Afghan president Mohammad Ashraf Ghani speaks during a press conference at Presidential Palace in Kabul on June 30, 2018. /VCG Photo)

Source(s): Reuters ,Xinhua News Agency