Taliban want to capture areas before talks: Gen. Shahim
JALALABAD (Pajhwok): Chief of Army Staff Gen. Qadam Shah Shahim on Saturday said the Taliban wanted to capture some areas before entering a political dialogue with the government, but the Afghan forces had the ability to defend their soil.
Gen. Shahim was addressing the Afghan National Army’s 201 Selab Military Corps on a military base in the Gambir desert in Laghman province during a visit to the eastern zone.
The army chief apparently visited the troops to praise them for recapturing the Want Weigal district of eastern Nuristan province after being overrun by Taliban insurgents.
Hundreds of armed militants stormed the district centre two days ago and captured it for few hours until the ANA troops arrived and drove them away.
While praising the troops, the army chief referred to the Taliban and said they wanted to capture some areas and then arrive at talks. He said the Afghan rebels were linked with regional spy agencies.
“The armed opponents have lost the ability to continue fighting. The demand of their masters is that they should first capture some areas and then appear for talks from a strong position, but they cannot capture any area.”
About recent rebel attacks, he said the insurgents mounted attacks on Charsadda district of Ghor, Juwind district of Badghis and Yamgan district of Badakhshan, but failed to hold the ground there.
Even yesterday, the army chief, said the Taliban captured the Want Weigal district but they were pushed back and driven away by the Afghan forces.
He called as satisfactory the country’s security situation and confirmed reports about the emergence of the Islamic State group in some districts of eastern Nangarhar province.
“The armed opponents have targeted public places like banks and killed and wounded civilians and then realised these attacks increased people’s hatred for them, so they changed their flag and name.”
He said the Afghan forces were able to fight off these armed groups and prevent their attacks and in the same breath urged the troops to take utmost care of civilians during their operations.
The 201 Selab Military Corps commander, Maj. Gen. Mohammad Zaman Waziri, said from the war perspective, the Taliban were fully prepared to change tactics as their current strategies had been flopped.
He said the troops had the ability and capability to fight the rebels and defend areas in their control and the people.
Later Defence Ministry officials distributed appreciation letters on behalf of the Chief of Army Staff among the 201 Selab Military Corps personnel in recognition of their services and ability.
Describing coordination among security forces in the east as good, the army chief directed them to continue operations against militants.
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