Three Afghan provinces are facing “critical” security situations amid intense fighting between the Taliban and Afghan forces.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said on Monday that he presented a security plan before the parliament that would bring violence under control within six months.
Both the Upper and Lower houses of the Afghan parliament have expressed support to Ghani’s security plan, which was not disclosed to the public following the president’s announcement.
Responding to the president’s decision, Taliban’s spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said: “Declarations of war, accusations and lies cannot prolong Ghani’s government’s life; his time has run out, God willing.”
Meanwhile fighting between Afghan forces and the Taliban intensified in recent days, placing three provinces in southern and western Afghanistan under “critical” security conditions.
On Sunday the Kandahar airport, located in the second-largest city in the country, was hit by three rockets during battles between the two warring sides.
“Kandahar airport was targeted by us because the enemy were using it as a centre to conduct air strikes against us,” Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid told Reuters.
The Taliban made advances in Herat on Friday, the country’s fourth-largest city, where the United Nations’ headquarters was attacked.
Days later on Sunday, the Afghan Presidential Palace hosted its “first digital” cabinet meeting, in which Ghani stressed the crucial need to implement his plan, which includes public mobilisation for defending the country under the leadership of the National Directorate of Security.
He said that the insurgent group has changed in comparison to the past 20 years, becoming more “cruel”.
“A Talib that has changed in the last 24 hours. What is their change? They have become more cruel, more oppressive, more non-Muslim,” Ghani said.
He added that the group will not engage in negotiations unless the country turns into a “battlefield”.
Furthermore, Ghani blamed the current situation on the “sudden decision” to pull out foreign troops from the country after decades of conflict.
In April, US President Joe Biden announced the complete withdrawal of American and foreign troops from Afghanistan without conditions by 11 September, with the process expected to be completed by the end of this month.
US refugee programme
On Monday, the US State Department announced that Washington will be resettling Afghans potentially targeted by the Taliban for their American affiliation under a new refugee programme, called “Priority Two”.
“In light of increased levels of Taliban violence, the US government is working to provide certain Afghans, including those who worked with the United States, the opportunity for refugee resettlement to the United States,” the State Department said in the announcement.
Afghans eligible for the programme include those who worked as employees of contractors, locally employed staff and interpreters and translators for the US government or armed forces.
Those who worked for a US-based media organisation or non-governmental organisation are also eligible.
Qatar has hosted the intra-Afghan talks since September last year in hopes of reaching a political solution to the ongoing war in the country, facilitating meetings between the Afghan government and the Taliban in Doha.
The Gulf state is now set to host a Troika Plus meeting on Afghanistan on 11 August, where Russia, the US, China, and Pakistan will hold talks in Doha to discuss the peace process.