“I have to emigrate from this city: we are bombed from the air, i Taliban they fight on the field. The situation is very bad ”. Interviewed by Radio Azadi, Bahauddin Khan is one of thousands of residents in Lashkar Gah, capital of the province of Helmand, in the south ofAfghanistan, where thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes due to the advance of the gods Taliban and the ongoing desperate counter-offensive by the Afghan army with theair help of the United States.
The fighting in the city has come on the seventh day and, according to the United Nations, they have already provoked at least 40 victims And 120 injured between civilians. The clashes a Lashkar Gah they are the mirror of what is happening in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of Western troops, unable to stabilize the country after 20 years of war, with the Taliban which now control most of the Afghan districts and threaten the important provinces of Helmand, Herat And Jowzjan.
MG Sadat’s message to the #Lashkargh people.
– Maiwand 215th Corps (@ 215Corps) August 2, 2021
In this situation, the general Sami Sadat, commander of the 215 Maiwand Corps of the Afghan army, urged the local population to evacuate Lashkar Gah, while the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) prepare a series of “full-scale operations” to repel the Taliban.
“At the moment the planes are bombing the province of Helmand, no one can leave their homes ”, denounced another resident of Lashkar Gah, Haji Mirwais, to the radio station according to which, with the intensification of the fighting in the suburbs of the city, i air raids have intensified.
As the news agency reports Associated Press, the airstrikes of the Afghan air force in the area were carried out with the “support of the United States“. No further information is available in this regard, but it is now clear that the clashes will not decrease since the Taliban they control nine out of ten districts of Lashkar Gah, where the situation is increasingly difficult, especially for civilians.
“THE Taliban they will have no mercy on us and the government will not stop the bombing, ”he said desperately to BBC a resident of the city. “There are corpses on the streets: we do not know if they are civilians or Taliban. Dozens of families fled their homes and settled near the river Helmand“.
“The situation has worsened and the fighting continues,” he admitted to the Afghan news agency yesterday Tolo News the deputy to the provincial parliament of Helmand, Karim Atal. “THE Taliban they hide in the homes of the inhabitants of the city and the number of civilian victims is high ”.
Local authorities have not yet issued any official death toll from the ongoing clashes Lashkar Gah, but there are reports from various quarters of an escalation of violence, including against civilians. “Shooting, air strikes and mortar rounds are incessant and hit densely populated areas”, he denounced in recent days Sarah Leahy, project coordinator Helmand from Doctors without borders. “Houses are bombed and many people suffer serious injuries.”
According to the humanitarian worker, now leaving the house a Lashkar Gah “It’s just too dangerous”. “Some of our colleagues stay overnight in the hospital because it is safer, but also to continue to treat patients: the fighting inside the city makes it more difficult for us to intervene but our staff are part of the community and, like many people, have fear of leaving home “.
The hospital Boost (historical name of the city) treated 70 injured only between 29 and 31 July 2021. “The situation has been disastrous for months, but now it’s even worse,” he stressed. Leahy. “In just one day we performed 10 surgeries on people injured in the clashes: something unheard of. Before last week, we operated on an average of two injured persons per day ”.
Among the victims also theinformation. According to the Afghan government, in the last few weeks alone, at least 16 media outlets, including four television networks, have ceased their activities due to an increase in violence in the country. Helmand. “So far, 35 media outlets have suspended their broadcasts and at least six newspapers have fallen into the hands of Taliban and now they are used as a voice for their activities “, explained in the past few hours the Afghan Minister of Information and Culture, Qasim Wafaeezada.
A nightmare scenario. “The shops are on fire: civilian casualties are many and air strikes are always in progress,” he told the Afghan news agency. Tolo News Jawid Ahmad, a resident of Lashkar Gah fled the city yesterday to take refuge in the capital Kabul.
All this is likely to repeat itself also a Kandahar, former stronghold of the Taliban in the south of the country, ea Herat, in the west, where the Italian military were stationed, two cities increasingly close to being siege like the capital of Helmand. As shown in the map developed by The Long War Journal, the advance of the “students of the Koranic schools” in Afghanistan in fact, there is no sign of stopping: i Taliban they managed to control 223 out of 407 districts of the Asian country, in addition to 54 percent of the national territory, it’s almost everyone the border crossings.
The government of Kabul, supported by States United and European countries, it mostly retains control of large cities and large portions of the vast area close to the capital. But now he risks losing this too, which constitutes a danger especially for civilians, at the mercy of the revenge of the gods Taliban after 20 years of conflict.
If the United Nations Security Council and theUnicef expressed “deep concern” at the growing number of “serious human rights violations reported“In Afghanistan, where even a 12-year-old child (in the province of Faryab) can be brutally flogged by order of the Taliban, the advance of the rebels is followed by unspeakable violence, at least according to a recent report by Human Rights Watch.
During their march on Ghazni, Kandahar and other provinces of the country, the so-called Koranic students would have executed summarily soldiers, agents of police And civilians stopped for alleged links with the government of Kabul. According to Hrw, between July 16 and August 2, 2021, 44 men disappeared in the area of Spin Boldak, to Kandahar, may have been slain by Taliban, who were also responsible for the murder of 19 members of the security forces in their custody in the district of Malistan.
But even the capital is not safe from violence (it never really was in so many years of war). At least eight people, including one woman, were killed and more than twenty were injured last night in Kabul following the explosion of a car bomb placed near the residence of the interim defense minister, the general Bismillah Mohammadi, remained unharmed.
At the attack, claimed by the Taliban, followed by the raid of a group of between four and seven armed men into a nearby house, owned by Mohammad Azim Mohseni, a deputy of the province of Baghlan, who was not at home at the time. This was followed by a heavy firefight with the private guards of the complex, which resulted in the arrival of the Afghan security forces and the death of a security guard.
The rise of violence in Afghanistan it has raised international protests, but in fact there does not seem to be any way out of the crisis. The phone call made yesterday between the US secretary of state Antony Blinken and the Afghan president Ashraf Ghani did not produce any news on the front of the ongoing peace talks a Doha, in Qatar.
The only possible solution, according to the US diplomat of Afghan origin Zalmay Khalilzad great architect of the agreement of February 2020 between Washington and the Taliban for the withdrawal of American troops from the country, is politics. There peace, said yesterday the special envoy of the United States during an online conference ofAspen Security Forum, can only be reached through a cease-fire And negotiations that establish a transitional government.
For Khalilzad however, the parties “are very far apart”. Administration Ghani wants to focus the peace talks on “bringing the Taliban in the current government structure “. The rebels, on the other hand, according to the diplomat, argue that the government of Kabul is just “the result of the military occupation” and they demand an executive and a constitution to manage the transition.
“They are trying to influence the political dispute with what is happening on the battlefield,” he remarked Khalilzad. “It’s a struggle for the distribution of power between various factions, and no Afghans, especially i civilians, he should die for this ”, concluded the envoy of the United States. Yet in Afghanistan For 40 years people have continued to die from the conflicts spilling over the country between the various world and regional powers that inflame ethnic and religious clashes.