Clashes in two districts of the southern province of Kandahar that started last week on Thursday have intensified and have left a “large number” of its residents displaced, according to officials and residents.
The clashes started when the Taliban attacked security outposts in Zherai and Arghandab districts late last week.
The government forces and the Taliban have both claimed to have inflicted casualties on each other in the clashes.
“We all have left our houses to save ourselves. Over 10 families are living in one house,” Kandahar resident Attaullah said.
“The clashes were ongoing. We left our houses in the evening when the fighting was a little down. We left to save our children,” Kandahar resident Abdulhaq said.
Security officials in Kandahar said heavy casualties have been inflicted to the Taliban in air and ground operations.
“Most intensified attacks have been in Arghandab and Zherai districts. The Afghan Defense and Security Forces stopped them (the Taliban) with courage,” said Bahir Ahmadzai, spokesman for Kandahar governor.
Kandahar’s neighboring province, Helmand, is also witnessing clashes between government forces and the Taliban over the last few weeks. The clashes in Helamand are underway in Nad Ali and Nawa districts as well as the outskirts of Lashkargah city.
“We have advanced five kilometers. This will continue,” Helmand Police Chief Gen. Khalil-Ur-Rahman Jawad said.
Soldiers in Helmand said they have established new outposts in Nad Ali district.
“We assure the people to return to their houses,” said Raz Mohammad, a soldier.
Security officials said the Kandahar-Helmand highway will be cleared of the Taliban in near future, but the group has attacked Zherai and Arghandab districts that are close to highway.