The continuation of clashes between Afghan forces and the Taliban in at least six districts of Kandahar has changed into a big concern for residents of the province who say the group is trying to transfer its hubs from Pakistan to the southern province by mounting their attacks on government forces.
Heavy clashes have continued in Kandahar between government forces and Taliban over the last few months. According to local officials, of 17 districts, Maiwand, Shah Wali Kot, Afghanistan, Zherai, and Panjwai are faced with a high level of threats.
“People cannot visit their farms. People cannot look after their property due to the conflicts,” said Ataullah, a resident of Zherai district in Kandahar.
“We cannot go to our areas. Children cannot go to schools due to the conflicts,” said Ali Ahmad, a resident of Zherai district.
“The Taliban is trying hard to choose Kandahar as their hub. Previously, their key commanders were in Helmand,” said Karim Atal, an MP from Kandahar.
According to local officials, the security of Shah Wali Kot district of Kandahar is mostly under threat from Uruzgan and Zabul province while security in Zherai district is faced with security threats from Zabul and Uruzgan provinces.
The Afghan National Army special forces commander in Kandahar, Brigadier Gen. Haibatullah Alizai, said the Taliban is trying to change the southern provinces into their hub, but they will not be allowed by Afghan forces.
“There is an environment for their recruitment in south and southwest where they are supported financially by drug trafficking and it is their biggest interest,” Alizai said.
“They (Taliban) are helped from another side of the (Durand) line, that’s why they did a try, but they were heavily defeated,” the acting minister of defense, Gen. Yasin Zia, said.
The Afghan government has said that at least 1,100 Taliban were killed only in Arghandab district in Kandahar in recent clashes.
On Friday, the Defense Ministry said that 59 Taliban were killed in clashes with the security forces in Kandahar, Helmand, Ghor, Faryab, Farah, and Badakhshan provinces in the last 24 hours.