After Helmand, Taliban embark on wreaking havoc in Kandahar


Officials of Mirwais Hospital of Kandahar city say they have received 25 dead and 222 wounded from the conflict areas during the past week.  Meanwhile, the violence has also displaced 2,000 families from their areas, with 1,500 of them coming from the Arghandab district alone.

KANDAHAR: Militants in the south have launched a coordinated campaign to consolidate their power in the southern province of Kandahar since last week.

Following the battle of Helmand last month, the Taliban are inching closer on Kandahar city, the provincial capital of southern Kandahar, broadening their territorial control over the districts surrounding the city.

Reports suggest the Taliban have taken control of several outposts in Arghandab, Maiwand and Zharary districts, but a government spokesman dismissed the report, adding that fighting was still underway.

However, the government claims that airstrikes have inflicted heavy casualties on the Taliban and have killed 314 insurgents and wounded another 92. OrbandNews has received footage of a number of airstrikes targeting the Taliban positions in Arghandab district and the surroundings.

In a separate video obtained by OrbandNews, government forces are seen in a convoy, evacuating an area called Lahour in Arghandab district of the province.

The video shows the Taliban fighters are standing on the road while soldiers in military vehicles wave at them and drive away.

Commenting on the video, the Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told OrbandNews that their fighters offered a safe passage to the security forces who were besieged in the area for a long time. “If they (security forces) don’t insist on fighting, we are amenable to a deal and willingly let them pass and surrender peacefully.”

He said the security personnel evacuated their Joy Lahore headquarters in Arghandab, adding “We consistently asked them to surrender and avoid being killed; they agreed, leaving behind their equipment in the base.”

Taliban claim wresting control of many outposts in Kandahar. Asked about casualties, Mujahid said the government forces conducted misfired airstrikes but the insurgents hadn’t suffered substantial casualties, except for a few handful ones.

However, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) spokesman Fawad Aman denied the video’s veracity, saying it was impossible for security personnel to do such an act. “The security situation in the district is under security forces’ control but clashes are ongoing.” 

The insurgents are extremely suppressed in the province, he said, adding all their allegations are baseless.

In the meantime, the Taliban also launched attacks on Zhari, Maiwand and Panjwayee districts of Kandahar. Officials of Mirwais Hospital of Kandahar city say that they had received 25 dead and 222 wounded from the conflict areas during the past week.

Health officials confirmed the dead included 12 security personnel and the injured 25.  

Meanwhile, the violence has also displaced 2,000 families from their areas, with 1,500 of them coming from the Arghandab district alone.

Provincial security officials refused to provide information about the casualties of Afghan forces on the battlefield.

Taliban also haven’t provided any exact figures of Afghan forces’ casualties so far, claiming the insurgent group had captured several security posts.

Afghan military officials in a joint statement alleged that up to 131 Taliban insurgents were killed and another 40 were injured during security operations in Panjwayee, Maiwand, Zharay, Maroof and Arghandab districts over the past 24 hours. They say that security forces are inching closer onto Kohak, Tabi, Khesraw and Nagahan areas of Arghandab district.

However, security forces made no advances in operations in Panjwayee and Zharary districts. Meanwhile, a Taliban explosives-laden vehicle heading to target a security base in the Kariz area of Spin Boldak district of Kandahar province was identified and blown up before reaching its target.

However, seven policemen were wounded from the debris of the explosion that fell on the security base.

This comes as Gen. Mohammad Yasin Zia, Chief of General Staff of the Afghan Armed forces, is also in Kandahar to assess the security situation. He recently visited the Zharey district.

Meanwhile, MoD notified about dispatching fresh commando forces to Helmand provincial center on Wednesday. “These forces will defend the lives and properties of Helmand residents and will try to provide better security for the residents of the province.”