Almost 22 districts are faced with security threats by the Taliban in the northeastern Badakhshan province that was once among the most secure provinces in the country, Badakhshan governor Zakaria Sawda said on Thursday.
Security sources said that there are more than 400 foreign fighters in Badakhshan.
“International terrorist groups have close relations with Al Qaeda and Daesh. This is one of the main reasons for the conflicts in Badakhshan,” Sawda said.
According to security sources, some foreign fighters have reached near border areas with Tajikistan through Badakhshan’s Jurm and Wardooj districts.
“Their main purpose is to help the Taliban, and in their long-term objectives, they want to get access to Tajikistan and China,” said Abdullah Naji Nazari, a member of Badakhshan Provincial Council.
Taliban has not commented on their ties with foreign fighters in Badakhshan.
Badakhshan residents said security threats have reached close to the city of Faiz Abad, the center of the province.
“The presence of illegal armed men has changed into a big problem for the people,” said Abdul Basir Wasiq, a civil society activist in Badakhshan.
From the military perspective, the north-eastern Badakhshan province is one of the strategic provinces in the north. Badakhshan has 27 districts and shares borders with Pakistan, China and Tajikistan.
The increase in violence comes amidst ongoing peace negotiations in Doha.
This comes as Helmand governor Yasin Khan on Thursday said that foreign fighters are backing the Taliban in the ongoing attacks in his province.
Yasin Khan said that foreign fighters associated with Al Qaeda, and Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Taiba are supporting the Taliban in the battle.
He said that the Taliban has provided safe havens to the fighters associated with Al Qaeda, Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Taiba, stating that these terrorist organizations are providing military and bomb-making training to the Taliban fighters.
The Taliban spokesman has rejected the claims. The Taliban launched a massive offensive on Lashkargah city a week ago. The Taliban also attacked parts of Nawa, Nahr-e-Saraj, Nad-e-Ali districts.