Taliban have overrun dozens of districts in Afghanistan since the start of the final phase of the withdrawal of US and NATO troops
AFGHAN Government forces battled Friday to retake a border crossing with Pakistan from Taliban insurgents. The Taliban had overrun the Spin Boldak crossing earlier in the week. On Friday, witnesses on the Pakistan side of the border said they saw intense fighting and reported seeing bodies. The Taliban have overrun dozens of districts in Afghanistan since the start of the final phase of the withdrawal of US and NATO troops, after a 20-year military presence.
The US says its withdrawal is 95 per cent complete. The fighting at Spin Boldak was confirmed by Fawad Aman, Afghanistan’s Deputy Defence Ministry spokesman. The Associated Press also obtained footage of fighters, apparently Taliban, receiving treatment in a hospital in the Pakistani border town of Chaman. Relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan are fraught with suspicion. Afghanistan routinely accuses Pakistan of giving safe haven to Afghan Taliban.
US, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Pak form Quad group for Afghan peace process
THE United States, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan will create a new quadrilateral diplomatic group to promote the Afghan peace process, stability and trade in the region, informed the US State Department said on Friday. State Department in a press release said, “Representatives of the United States, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Uzbekistan agreed in principle to establish a new quadrilateral diplomatic platform focused on enhancing regional connectivity.” The State Department said that the parties consider long-term peace and stability in Afghanistan critical to regional connectivity and agree that peace and regional connectivity are mutually reinforcing.
The parties see the establishment of the group as a means to bolster regional trade, build new transit routes and strengthen business ties. “The parties have agreed to hold a meeting in the coming months to discuss the details of their future cooperation, which is expected to be based on mutual consensus,” the release said. This development comes as the security situation in Afghanistan has been deteriorating following the withdrawal of US military forces from the country. The drawdown is set to be complete by the end of August.
As the Taliban continues to seize new territory, US officials have been engaged in talks with countries neighboring Afghanistan to support the Afghan Defense Forces. Other south and central Asian countries are also engaged in talks to advance peace talks.