In September, the United States and the Taliban had appeared on the verge of signing a deal that would have seen Washington begin withdrawing thousands of troops in return for security guarantees.
US Special Envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad said on Friday his team was taking “a brief pause” from talks with the Taliban after an attack on a crucial US base this week.
It’s no small thing when grotesque mistakes and lies about them cost 2,300 lives and a trillion dollars, but that’s what we got from US officials who have kept us at war
The Taliban however claimed the attack was actually a coordinated insurgent assault on the checkpoint where the shooting took place, killing over two dozen militiamen, according to Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.
Only hours before the Sept. 19 strike, the businessman who hired them had heard there was a drone over the mountain and called Afghanistan's intelligence agency to remind an official his workers were there - as he'd notified the agency days earlier.
An upsurge in violence in the run-up to the elections, following the collapse of US-Taliban talks to end America's longest war, had already rattled Afghanistan in the past weeks. Yet on Saturday, many voters expressed equal fear and frustration over relentless government corruption and the widespread chaos at polling stations.
Voting began on Saturday to elect a president for Afghanistan with more than 9 million Afghan registered voters potentially heading to the polls amid fears of violence and fraud.
Ghulam Rabani Rabani, a council member for Kunduz province, says on Saturday that Taliban also are attacking Afghan security forces in two locations outside the city, in running gun battles.
The Taliban cut off Safiullah Safi’s right forefinger for voting in 2014. That did not stop the businessman from doing it again.