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Watchdog: Afghan Violence Remains High Despite U.S.-Taliban Deal

A resident survey the damage caused after rockets landed at a residential area in Ghazni on July 16.

KABUL, -- Taliban violence in Afghanistan has remained above "historic norms" for most of the second quarter of this year, a U.S. watchdog said in a report published on July 30.

The U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) said the security situation had not improved following the signing of a landmark peace deal between the Taliban and the United States in late February.

"[Enemy] violence levels stayed well above historic norms for the majority of the reporting period," SIGAR said, citing NATO's Resolute Support mission.

There had been hopes internationally and in Afghanistan that the U.S.-Taliban deal would result in a reduction in Taliban violence. However, the militants have continued attacks on government security checkpoints and bombings, pausing online for a three-day cease-fire over the Eid al-Fitr holiday in late May.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on July 28 said more than 10,000 government forces had been killed or wounded since the U.S.-Taliban deal was signed. The United Nations has documented more than 1,200 civilian deaths in the first half of 2020.

The report comes after the Taliban announced a further three-day cease-fire over the upcoming Eid al-Adha holiday at the end of this week. The government has said it will reciprocate.

The UN welcomed the announcement of a temporary cease-fire and called for a quick start to intra-Afghan negotiations. The U.S.-Taliban agreement paves the way for the withdrawal of all international troops from Afghanistan and an exchange of prisoners between the government and the militants. In exchange, the Taliban is obligated to enter peace talks with the government.