There is an apparent increase in violence in Afghanistan in the first half of July 2018, after the collapse of the brief cease-fire of June, as reported by Radio Free Europe.
A second US soldier was killed over the past two weeks, he died from his wounds after being shot by small arms fire, despite being treated. The first casualty was the victim of an apparent “insider” attack by a member of the local security forces, as reported by Reuters.
The United Nations, as reported by Radio Free Europe have stated that the numbers of civilians killed in Afghanistan is at a record high for the first half of the year ever since civilian deaths started being recorded in 2009. The report of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan shows that deaths have rose by 1%, while injuries have decreased by 5%, this comes after June’s ceasefire. More than half of civilian casualties are caused by Afghan Air Force, the report shows, the UN urges the involved forces, aerial or ground to protect civilians to the highest degree.
Furthermore, a suicide bombing on July 15th, in front of the Rural Rehabilitation and Development Ministry, killed at least 7 and wounding 15. Both civilians and security forces members were caught in the explosion. The Islamic State extremist group has claimed responsibility for the attack. Fraidoon Azhand, a spokesman for the ministry, confirmed the attack, saying the bomber struck at a security gate as employees were exiting the compound during rush hour as reported by Radio Free Europe. There was a similar attack, for which Islamic State also claimed responsibility on June 11th, in front of the same ministry which left 13 dead and 30 injured.
In Northern Afghanistan on July 17th, a suicide bomber killed 20 people, including a Taliban commander, an Afghan official quoted by Radio Free Europe said. The chief of police in the northern Sar-e Pul Province claims that the attack happened as village elders were meeting with Taliban officials in the area. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack. Provincial council chief Mohammad Noor Rahman is quoted by Radio Free Europe saying that the explosion occurred in a mosque during a funeral.
As reported by Radio Free Europe, local officials in the southern Kandahar Province claim that at least 25 Taliban fighters have been killed during a clash with the security forces in the area.
Huffington Post also reports that Islamic State fighters on July 17th have entered the house Taliban commander in the northern Afghan province of Sar-e Pul and have killed at least 15 Taliban movement members.
In Nangarhar a commander known as Saba Gul was killed by a drone strike on July 16th, he was a former Taliban Commander who moved to Islamic State in late 2014 and was responsible for hundreds of deaths, the Nangarhar governor’s spokesman Attaullah Khogyani said, quoted by Huffington Post.
The Wall Street Journal claims that Afghan and US officials have said that the Afghan government plans a second cease-fire for the during a major Muslim holiday in August, in an attempt to kick-start peace talks.
Radio Free Europe also reported a series of almost simultaneous attacks blamed on the Taliban that happened in the northern Kunduz Province happened on July 12th, Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman Mohammad Radmanish told the AFP news agency “We have suffered casualties. The Taliban has also suffered casualties.”
There have also been casualties unrelated to the conflict, as a landslide on July 11th in the Panjshir province killed at least 10 and destroyed approximately 300 homes, as reported by Reuters. Two helicopters with a rescue team and emergency aid immediately flew to the area to assist.
At the same time there have been news in various media that the Trump Administration have changed its tactics and wishes to initiate talks to establish conversation between the US, the Afghan Government and the Taliban movement to seek peace. Despite all of President Ghani’s invitations to talks being rejected, he claims that the door is always open for Taliban officials willing to negotiate, as reported by Radio Free Europe.