Plumes of smoke billowed over a provincial Afghan capital Thursday as combating raged between the Taliban and authorities forces for a second straight day.
The federal government flew lots of of commandos into Qala-i-Naw, within the northwestern province of Badghis, the primary provincial capital to face an all-out assault by the Taliban since the USA stepped up its troop withdrawal.
With the US pullout “90 per cent full”, in response to the Pentagon, the insurgents have launched a blistering marketing campaign to seize new territory, and fears are mounting that Afghan forces can be stretched with out very important American air assist.
Video obtained by AFP confirmed thick smoke billowing over the town, and the sound of gunfire may very well be heard.
Badghis well being official Abdul Latif Rostaee mentioned not less than 10 civilians had been taken to hospital because the combating erupted.
“The Taliban have resumed their assaults from a number of instructions with gentle and heavy weapons,” Badghis Governor Hessamuddin Shams instructed AFP on Thursday.
“Our safety forces are bravely combating them and the enemy is being pushed again. They’re fleeing. We are going to give a tough blow to the enemy.”
On Wednesday, the Taliban briefly seized the police headquarters and the native workplace of the nation’s spy company, however had been later pushed again.
Qala-i-Naw resident Aziz Tawakoli mentioned Taliban fighters had been nonetheless roaming the town, nonetheless.
“You possibly can see them going up and down the streets on their bikes,” he mentioned.
Tawakoli mentioned most of the metropolis’s 75,000 folks had fled their houses — both to close by districts or to neighbouring Herat province.
“The retailers are closed and there may be hardly anybody on the streets,” he mentioned, including that helicopters and planes had bombed Taliban targets via the evening.
Badghis provincial council member Zia Gul Habibi mentioned the Taliban suffered casualties, but additionally surrounded the town.
“All districts are underneath their management… Individuals are actually in worry,” she mentioned.
“All retailers and authorities establishments are closed. There are nonetheless experiences of sporadic combating.”
‘Girls Will Not Be In a position To Work’
Parisila Herawai, a rights activist within the metropolis, expressed concern for the security of girls specifically.
“It’s an emergency scenario for all girls, particularly activists,” she instructed AFP. “If the Taliban plan to stay within the metropolis, we will be unable to work.”
As information of the assault unfold on Wednesday, social media was flooded with movies of clashes — with some displaying armed Taliban fighters on motorbikes coming into the town, as onlookers cheered.
Native officers mentioned some safety officers had surrendered to the Taliban, and the insurgents opened the gates of the town jail, liberating lots of of prisoners.
Most had since been recaptured, officers mentioned.
In a single day, the defence ministry rushed lots of of commandos to the town to launch a “massive scale operation”, spokesman Fawad Aman mentioned on Twitter.
The assault on Qala-i-Naw comes because the Taliban perform a blistering marketing campaign throughout the nation however principally within the north, capturing dozens of districts since early Could.
The combating gave the impression to be spreading in Herat, the place officers acknowledged dropping two districts to the insurgents.
Rights group Human Rights Watch mentioned the insurgents had been forcing folks from their homes in northern areas that they’d captured.
“The Taliban’s retaliatory assaults towards civilians deemed to have supported the federal government are an ominous warning in regards to the danger of future atrocities,” mentioned HRW affiliate director Patricia Gossman.
“The Taliban management has the ability to cease these abuses by their forces however have not proven that they’re keen to take action,” she mentioned.
(Apart from the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV workers and is printed from a syndicated feed.)