Pakistan hosts Afghan Taliban leaders to talk peace talks

London [U.K.], March 24: The Taliban has captured a key district in Helmand province, which was once considered a deadly battlefield for the British and the USA troops in Afghanistan, as reported by The Guardian.

In Washington on Tuesday, Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani called for the U.S.to add to the 8,400 troops now in Afghanistan - where the Taliban have stepped up attacks and the Daesh terrorist group also poses a threat. Vohra said India would back Afghanistan at the next round of talks, scheduled for April, in arguing that the Taliban remained the biggest threat to the country.

"The government is going to be asking why on earth its security forces were not able to do what they were expected to do", he said. According to some estimates, the insurgent group now controls more than half of the province, which produces the bulk of Afghanistan's lucrative opium crop.

Also, US drones continue to target the Taliban militants on both sides of the border. Those Marines had just "suffered the heaviest losses of any battalion in this 10-year-long war", Gates said. Captain Salvin said that the USA approach in Afghanistan to fighting the IS was two-pronged: "The first is the unilateral U.S. counterterrorism mission called Operation Freedom, and that is where we will conduct the operations against terrorist groups like ISIS-K on our own".

"The only thing they left to the Taliban is rubble and dirt", he added.

In a report published on Thursday, Save the Children said that more than 400 000 children in Afghanistan, over 1 100 per day, might not attend classes, citing a growing instability in the country and a spike in forced returns from Pakistan.

Since responsibility for security was handed over from worldwide forces to the Afghan government in 2014, hundreds of Afghan forces have lost their lives defending Sangin.

In April of 2007, more than 1,000 worldwide troops assaulted the area and occupied it after most Taliban fighters had left, and Sangin was restored to government control.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the Afghan government say they have significantly reduced ISIS-K's numbers and their territorial control from more than 10 districts to fewer than five. But this winter, Afghan forces had failed to regain territory around Sangin.

On Thursday, US Army General Curtis Scaparrotti, who is NATO's Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, said that he had seen "Russian influence" on Afghan Taliban insurgents who are gaining momentum, raising the possibility that none other than Moscow helped supply the militants.

Pakistan will take part in an worldwide conference in Moscow next month to discuss peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan, according to the Foreign Ministry Friday. He did not elaborate on what assistance was potentially being provided.

Russia, which fought its own exhausting war in Afghanistan in the 1980s, has denied aiding the Taliban. Afghan and U.S. officials say the Taliban aren't invited.

  • Leroy Wright