Taliban ramps up attacks after ending unilateral ceasefire

The Taliban has resumed its offensive against Afghan security forces throughout the country after a lull in fighting following a three-day unilateral ceasefire for the Eid-ul-Fitr holiday in late May.

Over the past week, the Taliban has killed or wounded more than 420 Afghan security personnel during attacks across Afghanistan.

At least 171 Afghan security personnel were killed in and 250 more were wounded during 222 Taliban attacks in 29 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces during the past week, a spokesman for the Interior Affairs Ministry told TOLONews.

The Taliban’s resumption of its nationwide offensive against the Afghan government is in stark contrast to the picture that was painted by Afghan officials a little over two weeks ago.

The Taliban announced its Eid ceasefire on May 23 and said it would end on May 26. It never coordinated its ceasefire with the Afghan government. Instead, the Afghan government seized the opportunity to reciprocate and declared its own ceasefire.

On May 29, after the Taliban attacked and killed 14 border guards in Paktia province, both the Afghan Ministry of Defense and National Security Council somehow claimed that the Taliban extended its ceasefire. The Taliban denied that and its spokesmen began tweeting about significant attacks.

After the ceasefire ended on May 26, the number of Taliban attacks was indeed low for the first week. Very few Taliban attacks were reported on Voice of Jihad, by the group’s spokesmen, or in the Afghan press. Afghan officials tried to portray this lull in violence as a result of an agreement with the Taliban to maintain a ceasefire.

However, Taliban attacks as well as its propaganda efforts during and after Eid-ul-Fitr are historically low.

Within a week after the end of its ceasefire, the Taliban began stepping up its assaults on Afghan security forces and government officials – again making it clear to all involved that they will dictate the pace and fury of destruction.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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