As Afghan Peace Deal Nears, Fighting Escalates

Scores killed as Taliban attacks key city of Kunduz

Officials continue to suggest that a US-Taliban peace deal in Afghanistan is imminent. While that hasn’t been the case so far, the predictions of peace are now also being met with growing military offensives.

The biggest such fight is in the key northern city of Kunduz, where Taliban forces have been pushing into the area. 20 troops and 56 Taliban fighters have been reported killed there so far, with no sign of the Taliban giving up on the attack.

If anything, the Taliban looks to be doubling down, attacking the city of Puli Khumri as well, another provincial capital, albeit not as large. Fighting there continues on the outskirts of the city.

Some are speculating these are efforts by the Taliban to shore up gains at the last minute, though they are hardly alone in such attacks. Afghan forces launched airstrikes in Faryab Province, claiming a substantial number of Taliban killed, but also killing at least 12 civilians.

While a lot of wars see sides trying to make last minute gains before a truce, several false starts on peace in August may have convinced both sides they need to secure some extra leverage to get the deal done.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.