Clashes Continue in Three Southern Provinces: Officials
Local officials on Saturday reported clashes between the government forces and the Taliban in three southern provinces of Helmand, Kandahar and Uruzgan over the last few days.
Parts of the Arghandab district in Kandahar and Dehraood district in Uruzgan have fallen to the militants, local officials said, adding that the clashes have displaced "thousands" of people.
The police chief of Dehraood, Jan Mohammad Karimi, said the district will fall to militants if they don’t receive help from the government.
“The situation will be out of our control if there isn’t an urgent action,” said Karimi.
“The Dehraood district is on the verge of collapse,” a resident of the district, Mohammad Saeed, said. “People have been displaced. Ways to the district have been closed.”
The Taliban has claimed that they have captured some areas in their attacks on Arghandab district in Kandahar. Local officials said operations are underway in the district. Also, they reported clashes in Panjwai district in Kandahar.
According to Kandahar Police Chief Tadin Khan, at least 70 Taliban fighters have been killed and wounded in clashes with Afghan forces in the province.
“The security and defense forces conducted operations in Zherai and Arghandab districts against anti-government armed militants and the operations have been successful,” said Kandahar police spokesman Jamal Barikzai.
The Helmand clashes started a month ago in which the Taliban attacked the outskirts of Lashkargah city as well as parts of Nad Ali and Nawa districts. The clashes are still underway in the PD4 of Lashkargah city, according to local officials.
Security officials said their operations continue with a slow pace to protect civilians.
Over 5,000 families have been displaced due to the ongoing clashes in Helmand, according to the provincial office of refugees and repatriation.
The officials added that some areas fallen to the Taliban in Nad Ali and Nawa districts have been retaken by government forces where the troops have established new outposts.
“Large-scale operations have been conducted in Chah Anjir and Nawa regions. You will soon witness progress and the people will be back to their normal life,” Helmand Police Chief Gen. Khalil-Ur-Rahman said.
This comes as the Ministry of Interior Affairs on Saturday said the Taliban has conducted at least 2,000 attacks in the last 50 days.
The ministry said that 261 civilians were killed and 602 more were wounded in the Taliban attacks in the same period.
Taliban has not commented on the statement by the Ministry of Interior Affairs.
According to figures by the Defense Ministry, the Taliban launched offensives on security outposts in 28 provinces on Thursday and Friday.
The increase in violence comes amidst the ongoing peace negotiations in Doha that have faced delay due to disputed points on the ground rules for the talks.