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Why attack on Bagram military base amid peace talks?

12 Dec 2019 - 13:37
12 Dec 2019 - 13:37

KABUL insurgents on the Bagram military base despite ongoing peace talks between the insurgent group and the US in Qatar.

At least two civilians were killed and 80 others, including NATO soldiers, were injured in the Wednesday’s attack on the foreign forces base in Bagram district of central Parwan province.

Bagram District Chief Abdul Shakour told Pajhwok Afghan News the assailants used three vehicles in the attack.

After exploding the explosives-laden vehicles, six attackers entered an under construction hospital in the area and engaged security forces.

He said two civilians were killed and 80 others in nearby villages were injured in the incident.

NATO officials also said a number of their service members were wounded but they provided no figures.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack within hours and said dozens of Afghan and foreign forces were killed and wounded.

Political expert Mushtaq Rahim said both the US and Taliban seemed hell-bent on fighting each other and had no intension to declare ceasefire.

He told Pajhwok Afghan News each side wanted to show they had an upper hand in the war. “These are destructive people, they want to fail the peace process,” he said, adding that there might be elements inside the Taliban who wanted the peace process to fail and damage it.

Inayatullah Kakar, another political analyst and peace activist, said such attacks served no one’s interest.

The US after resumption of peace talks asked the Taliban to bring a significant reduction in violence as one of conditions for the peace talks, he said, adding the Taliban also had the same demand from the US.

“We saw no major attack out by any side in recent days, but unfortunately the Afghan government continued its attacks and we also witnessed that many civilians were killed in Maidan Wardak, Logar and Paktia provinces in these assaults,” he said.

The Taliban in response directly targeted the US military base instead of attacking the government, he said.

About US special peace envoy Zalamy Khalilzad’scomplaint about the attack, he said the Taliban believed the Afghan government was directly supported by the US and that was the reason they targeted Americans to reduce civilian losses by not targeting government organs.

Khushal Khalil, another analyst, said the attack on Bagram base could have many reasons.

He believed the Taliban were divided and their Qatar office, Quetta council and commanders in the battlefield had no coordination with each other.

The Taliban after the release of Anas Haqqani promised with the US that they would reduce violence, he said, adding that differences over some issues during the talks could also be a reason that the Taliban carried the attack in order to press the US.

Khalil said the Taliban and the US in their new phase of talks discussed ceasefire, fate of Taliban’s safe-havens inside Pakistan.

“Probably these issues were hard for the Taliban to easily accept and they developed differences during talks so the Taliban sent a message to the US that they would continue war.”

He said if the Taliban agreed that they would not attack the US, then Wednesday’s attack was on the Afghans in which around 90 Afghans were injured.

Another analyst, Sami Yousufzai said such attacks in the past led to suspension of peace talks and the Taliban chose to avoid such assaults.

“There is an organized circle inside the Taliban, most probably insurgents in Helmand who do not want talks with the US and the government,” he said.

Hassan Haqyar, another expert, said: “I think the Taliban want show the US that they are not tired of war and their talks do not mean they have become weak.” He said that the Taliban showed the US that only talks could not stop the war.

The attack on the US base in Bagram comes after the Taliban and US resumed peace negotiations in Doha, capital of Qatar a few days back, about three months after US President Donald Trump suspended the negotiations.

Taliban’s spokesman for their Qatar office, Suhail Shaheenm told Pajhwok that they would provide a safe environment for the US withdrawal from Afghanistan after a peace agreement.

He said they would also stop attacks on Afghan forces after intra-Afghan talks were launched and they reached an agreement with the Afghan side.

mds/ma

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