Tuesday, May 4th, 2021
While NATO troops withdraw
Taliban launch offensive against government
The US – and its allies – want to withdraw from Afghanistan by September 11th. Meanwhile, the Taliban are launching an offensive against government troops in several provinces.
In Afghanistan, the military claims to have repulsed an offensive by the radical Islamic Taliban in the southern Helmand province. The Defense Ministry said more than 100 Taliban fighters were killed in the fighting that broke out on Monday. It made no information about the victims among the Afghan security forces.
The Taliban did not initially provide a statement. The military said they had launched air strikes against the Taliban and dispatched elite units to the area. The insurgents had been pushed back, but the fighting continued, said a representative of the regional government. Hundreds of families have fled.
Residents of a suburb of the provincial capital Laschkar Gah reported explosions, heavy fighting and exchanges of fire. The Ministry of Defense in the capital, Kabul, said the Taliban had launched attacks in at least six other provinces, including Ghazni in the southeast and Kandahar in the south.
The Taliban began their offensive after a deadline for withdrawal of US troops had expired on May 1, which had been agreed in peace talks with the old administration in Washington under then President Donald Trump.
The new US President Joe Biden had announced that he would leave the US troops in Afghanistan a little longer, but will withdraw by September 11 at the latest. The Taliban refused. In the course of the US withdrawal, the German soldiers and all other NATO troops are also expected to leave the country. Critics of the withdrawal fear that the Taliban will try to regain power in Afghanistan.