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Taliban attacks increased in Afghanistan in the last quarter of 2019

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) recently published the quarterly report which highlights that over the last quarter of 2019 the number of Taliban attacks in Afghanistan increased by 17% compared to the same period in 2018. The high level of attacks conducted by the Taliban might seriously threaten the dialogue on the peace agreement started by the United States.

The increase in the number of attacks began in September, the month of preparation and holding of presidential elections, during which anti-government forces repeatedly carried out attacks and sabotage in order to disrupt the vote. According to the Resolute Support mission, last September was the month with the highest number of attacks since June 2012 and the highest number of successful attacks since January 2010. October 2019 accounted for the largest number of attacks since July 2013.

It was in the second half of the year that anti-government forces increased their activity. In fact,  when the United States started the negotiations with the Taliban, the scale of hostilities decreased, but later the Taliban resumed participation in attacks.

In particular, the number of Taliban attacks in October, November and December 2019 reached 8,204, compared to 6,974 in the last three months of 2018. In the second half of 2019, compared to the same period in 2018, the number of attacks increased by 6%, and successful attacks by 4%.

Statistics Attacks in Afghanistan in the fourth-quarter since 2010 (Source: Task and Purpose)

The distribution of attacks in various parts of the country remained largely the same: active fighting took place in the southern and western provinces while in the North and East of Afghanistan the areas of militant activity expanded.

Currently, the United States is preparing to sign a peace agreement with the Taliban, but so far the militants regularly carry out attacks on the Afghan guards. In a recent speech, US Secretary of state Mike Pompeo said that in order to sign a peace agreement, the Taliban must demonstrate in practice their readiness to reduce the level of violence.