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Thousands of families flee Kandahar fighting

AFP/Kandahar
Filed on July 25, 2021
Reuters

The Taleban’s deadly assault has seen the insurgents capture scores of districts, border crossings and encircle several provincial capitals.


More than 22,000 Afghan families have fled from their homes to escape fighting in the former Taleban bastion of Kandahar, officials said on Sunday, as authorities arrested four suspected insurgents over this week’s rocket attack on Kabul.

Since early May, violence has surged across several provinces including in Kandahar after the insurgents launched a sweeping offensive just days after the US-led foreign forces began their final withdrawal.

The Taleban’s deadly assault has seen the insurgents capture scores of districts, border crossings and encircle several provincial capitals.

“The fighting has displaced 22,000 families in the past one month in Kandahar,” Dost Mohammad Daryab, head of the provincial refugee department, said.

“They have all moved from the volatile districts of the city to safer areas.”

On Sunday, fighting continued on the outskirts of Kandahar city.

“The negligence of some security forces, especially the police, has made way for the Taleban to come that close,” Lalai Dastageeri, deputy governor of Kandahar province, said.

“We are now trying to organise our security forces.”

Local authorities had set up four camps for the displaced people who are estimated to be about 154,000.

Kandahar resident Hafiz Mohammad Akbar said his house had been taken over by the Taleban after he fled.

“They forced us to leave... I am now living with my 20-member family in a compound with no toilet,” said Akbar.

Residents expressed concerns the fighting might increase in days ahead.

“If they really want to fight, they should go to a desert and fight, not destroy the city,” said Khan Mohammad, who moved to a camp with his family.

“Even if they win, they can’t rule a ghost town.”

Kandahar, with its 650,000 inhabitants, is the second-largest city in Afghanistan after Kabul.

The southern province was the epicentre of the Taleban’s regime when they ruled Afghanistan between 1996 to 2001.

Ousted from power in a US-led invasion in 2001 after the September 11 attacks, the Taleban have spearheaded a deadly insurgency that continues to this day.

Their latest offensive launched in early May has seen the group take control of half of the country’s about 400 districts.





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