May 12, 2020 / 3:37 PM / 17 days ago

Afghan president orders troops to switch to 'offensive' stance after attacks

FILE PHOTO: Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani speaks during his inauguration as president, in Kabul, Afghanistan March 9, 2020. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail

KABUL (Reuters) - Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said on Tuesday he was ordering the military to move to ‘offensive mode’, away from a defensive stance it had taken as part of efforts to reduce violence in the war-ravaged nation as Washington tries to broker peace talks.

“In order to provide security for public places and to thwart attacks and threats from the Taliban and other terrorist groups, I am ordering Afghan security forces to switch from an active defence mode to an offensive one and to start their operations against the enemies,” he said in a televised speech.

His comments came after a violent day in which gunmen killed 16 people at a maternity clinic in Kabul and more than 20 died in a suicide bomb attack at a funeral in eastern Afghanistan. The Taliban have denied they were involved in the attacks.

Reporting by Hamid Shalizi; Writing by Charlotte Greenfield; Editing by Gareth Jones

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