Taliban fighters assaulted at the least three provincial capitals in a single day — Lashkar Gah, Kandahar and Herat — after a weekend of heavy fighting that noticed hundreds of civilians flee the advancing militants.
Fighting raged in Helmand’s provincial capital Lashkar Gah, the place the Taliban launched coordinated assaults on town centre and its jail — simply hours after the federal government introduced the deployment of a whole lot of commandos to the world.
The conflict has intensified since early May, with the insurgents capitalising on the ultimate levels of the withdrawal of US-led international forces after virtually 20 years.
As the nation’s safety forces struggled to maintain the Taliban at bay, President Ashraf Ghani blamed Washington for the deteriorating safety.
“The cause for our present state of affairs is that the choice was taken abruptly,” Ghani informed parliament, referring to the withdrawal of international forces.
Ghani stated he had warned Washington that the withdrawal would have “penalties”.
His feedback got here as the United States stated it’s going to soak up hundreds extra Afghan refugees as violence surged throughout the nation.
“In mild of elevated ranges of Taliban violence, the US authorities is working to offer sure Afghans, together with those that labored with the United States, the chance for refugee resettlement,” the State Department stated in an announcement.
Washington has already began evacuating hundreds of interpreters and their households who labored with the army and embassy over the previous twenty years.
– ‘Life is at a standstill’ – The United States and Britain on Monday accused the Taliban of atrocities which will quantity to “conflict crimes” within the city of Spin Boldak, which the insurgents captured final month alongside the border with Pakistan.
“The Taliban massacred dozens of civilians in revenge killings. These murders might represent conflict crimes,” the embassies of Washington and London stated in separate tweets.
“The Taliban’s management have to be held chargeable for the crimes of their fighters. If you can’t management your fighters now, you haven’t any enterprise in governance later.”
The diplomatic lashing comes after Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission stated the insurgents had indulged in revenge killings in Spin Boldak.
“After taking up Spin Boldak district, the Taliban chased and recognized previous and current authorities officers and killed these individuals who had no fight position within the battle,” the group stated, including at the least 40 folks had been killed by the Taliban.
Fighting in the meantime continued within the southern Afghan metropolis of Lashkar Gah in a single day as Afghan forces beat again a contemporary assault from the Taliban.
“Afghan forces on the bottom and by air strikes repelled the assault,” the army in Helmand stated.
Resident Hawa Malalai warned of a rising disaster within the metropolis: “There is fighting, energy cuts, sick folks in hospital, the telecommunication networks are down. There are not any medicines and pharmacies are closed.”
Medical charity Doctors Without Border stated casualties have been mounting in Lashkar Gah.
“There has been relentless gunfire, air strikes and mortars in densely populated areas. Houses are being bombed, and many individuals are struggling extreme accidents,” stated Sarah Leahy, the help group’s coordinator for Helmand, in an announcement.
Helmand for years was the centrepiece of the US and British army marketing campaign in Afghanistan — just for it to slide deeper into instability.
The huge poppy fields within the province present the lion’s share of the opium for the worldwide heroin commerce — making it a profitable supply of tax and money for the Taliban.
The loss of Lashkar Gah could be an enormous strategic and psychological blow for the federal government, which has pledged to defend provincial capitals in any respect prices after dropping a lot of the agricultural countryside to the Taliban over the summer time.
– ‘Strategic blunders’ – Fighting additionally surged in some districts of Kandahar province, the previous bastion of the insurgents, and on the outskirts of its capital.
In the west, a whole lot of commandos have been additionally defending Herat after days of fierce fighting.
Kabul has repeatedly dismissed the insurgents’ regular good points over the summer time as missing strategic worth, however has largely didn’t reverse their momentum.
The seize of any main metropolis by the Taliban would take their present offensive to a different degree and gas considerations in regards to the capability of the Afghan army.
“If Afghan cities fall… the US determination to withdraw from Afghanistan might be remembered as one of essentially the most notable strategic blunders in American international coverage,” Australia-based Afghanistan skilled Nishank Motwani informed AFP.
The Taliban have seized Afghan cities up to now however have retained them solely briefly.