Taliban pledge not to target army, police who leave ‘enemy ranks’

Armed group says US, foreign allies remain targets and will stop attacking Afghan forces who will leave their ranks.

Afghan security forces keep watch during blasts and gunbattle at the site in Jalalabad city
Afghan security forces keep watch during blasts and gun battle in Jalalabad city [Parwiz/Reuters]
Correction19 May 2018
An earlier version of this article stated that the Taliban had offered a general amnesty to police and army in Afghanistan. This was incorrect. The amnesty was only offered to those who would leave what it called "enemy ranks", as is now reflected below.

The Taliban says it will not target Afghan police and military in the country if they leave their ranks, due to the high number of casualties suffered by the security forces in the ongoing conflict.

The armed group declared in a rare statement on Friday “a general amnesty to all military formations, national army, national police, Arbakis (local police) and all employees of the regime to safeguard their lives and wealth”, in case they leave “enemy ranks”. 

While stating that the main target of its recently launched spring offensive in the country are the US and its allies, the armed group said security officials often come under fire because they are “protecting the foreign invaders and the corrupt regime which they have installed”.

“These security forces, however, are our own countrymen who have joined the ranks of America due to misguidance or other reasons,” the statement said.

“In case you do leave the enemy ranks … the mujahideen of Islamic Emirate shall use every means at their disposal to try and ease your life.”

The Taliban, which was removed from power by the US-led forces in 2001, also vowed to further intensify attacks in the country.

Taliban fighters attacked a police headquarters in the western Farah province on Monday, killing at least 20 members of the security forces. 

In subsequent clashes on Tuesday between the group, armed with heavy weapons, and Afghan security forces at least 25 members of the forces and five civilians were killed in the Afghan city. 

Afghan security forces have struggled to combat the Taliban since the US and NATO formally concluded their combat mission in the country in 2014 and shifted their focus to a support and counter-terrorism role.

According to a recent BBC study, the Taliban are active in 70 percent of districts, fully controlling four percent of the country and demonstrating an open physical presence in another 66 percent.

Last year, the US pledged to increase its support to struggling Afghan forces, announcing plans for thousands of additional advisers and increasing air raids in a bid to force the Taliban to enter peace negotiations.

Taliban, which ruled the South Asian nation between 1996-2001, has set the withdrawal of foreign forces from the country as a pre-condition for talks.

Source: Al Jazeera