KABUL, Aug. 19 -- The Taliban militants, who vowed to regain power in Afghanistan, have intensified their activities since May and have launched massive offensives, a development viewed by local analysts here as a result of the government's soft stance against them.
In their latest massive attack against government facilities, more than 700 Taliban insurgents targeted government checkpoints in Hazra District of Logar province, 60 km south of the national capital Kabul, causing panic among local residents.
According to provincial police chief, Abdul Hakim Ishaqzai, some 750 armed insurgents attacked police checkpoints in Hazra district early Sunday morning and after around six hours of gun battle, the militants retreated leaving five dead behind.
Early this month, hundreds of militants attacked government facilities in Hesarak district of the eastern Nangarhar province. After days of heavy fighting, they were forced to flee. Fighting between security forces and militants also broke out in the northern Kunduz province. "The government's soft stance towards Taliban, releasing Taliban from Bagram prison and a presidential order not to use heavy weapons against militants in villages have bolstered the Taliban morale,"lawmaker Abdul Wadod Paiman said in talks with local media Monday.
He made the comment while clashes were going on in parts of Kunduz over the past week where the Taliban attempted to gain ground while national security forces have been fighting to consolidate government control there.
More than 800 Taliban militants challenged the government security forces in the southern Helmand province in mid June. The clashes lasted for two weeks leaving more than 300, majority of them civilians, dead and injured.
After several civilian casualties were reported during NATO-led forces air strikes, President Hamid Karzai ordered the banning of Afghan national security forces from seeking NATO air support during operations against Taliban fighters in residential areas.
In efforts to minimize civilian casualties, Karzai has also reportedly asked his forces not to use heavy artillery during operations in villages. "Banning troops to request air support from NATO-led forces and using heavy weapons during military operations would definitely undermine the morale of the troops and eventually enable Taliban to benefit,"Afghan parliamentarian Fatima Aziz said in talks with a local television recently.
Thousands of Taliban detainees have been set free from detention centers by Afghan government over the past couple of years. The Afghan government also sought the release of Taliban detainees from Pakistani jails and U.S. Guantanamo prison which, some analysts said, are moves showing the softening of the government's stance toward the militants.
What is deplorable, according to Afghan officials, is that some of the Taliban insurgents released from jails have rejoined their former comrades and are now fighting the government.
A Taliban commander Qari Rahmatullah, who was released from jail months ago, was behind the brutal killing of 14 civilians in Ghor province in late July, according to Ghor Governor Sayed Anwar Rahmati.
Taliban militants are presently fighting in Kunduz, Kunar, Logar, Nangarhar, Kandahar and many more places. "The security situation would further deteriorate if the government does not change its policy towards Taliban and continue to bar using air power against the insurgents,"legislator Fatima Aziz said.