KABUL: The Taliban’s announcement on Tuesday of the launch of its annual spring offensive has dashed the chances of peace talks with the Afghan government
The announcement follows last week’s deadly attack by Daesh on a voter registration center in Kabul.
“When the Taliban declares its spring offensive, it’s not only rejecting President Ashraf Ghani’s peace overture, but also launching a war against it,” Mohammed Daud Kalakani, a lawmaker from Kabul, told Arab News.
Since the announcement, the Taliban has unleashed a series of attacks, killing dozens of Afghan security personnel and the deputy governor of Logar province, Foreign Ministry officials told Arab News on Friday.
The offensive spells “disaster for the people,” Defense Ministry spokesman Mohammed Radmanesh told Arab News.
“We have our own preparations, and have launched 11 offensives in different parts of the country.”
There have been at least six attacks on voter registration offices, including one in Kabul. The government has acknowledged that many of them are in areas beyond its control, but has vowed to beef up security for parliamentary elections scheduled for October.
There are fears that the Taliban offensive could escalate violence and reduce the chances of a transparent and secure election.
“So far, only 200,000 people have registered,” Ahmad Saeedi, an analyst and former Afghan diplomat, told Arab News.
“We have 13 million people qualified to vote, so even if we step up security and prolong the period of voter registration, possibly 1 or 2 million will register,” he said.
“Will this be enough of a turnout? Will the election be free, fair and transparent? No. The election will add to the crisis,” he added.
“Elections are held to bring political stability, but this one will increase the challenges for the government and the people.” Government officials insist the election will be held on time.