The Taliban has conducted roughly 700 attacks on the city of Lashkargah in the southern province of Helmand over the last three weeks, an army commander said, adding that the group was “helped by al-Qaeda fighters” in their attacks on the southern city.
The 215 Maiwand Corps Commander, Gen. Sami Sadat, said that nearly '30 al-Qaeda fighters' were killed in Afghan force operations that were conducted in response to the Taliban attacks and that the military has gathered evidence of their identities along with other documents.
The attacks were mostly focused on Lashkargah City’s District 10 and District 3 – on the outskirts of the city – and parts of these two areas temporarily fell to the Taliban.
“Al-Qaeda fighters have fought against our troops on the frontlines. At least 30 of them have been killed in the clashes in the last three weeks,” Gen. Sadat said.
Helmand officials said that at least 4,500 families were displaced during the clashes and sought shelter in other parts of Lashkargah.
“We have pushed the enemies back from the city and we are pursuing them to take more (territory) back,” said Hedayat Rasuli, a battalion commander for the border forces.
“The enemy is beyond those walls. They are seen there sometimes,” said Ebadullah, a police soldier.
Ahmad, a teenager who is a resident of Lashkargah, stayed at his home--letting his family leave--despite ongoing clashes in the area.
“The problems cannot be solved this way. We pray to God to bring peace,” said Ahmad.
Some families were displaced three weeks back and shifted from the Bolan area to the central parts of Lashkargah.
“We left only with our clothes… We don’t have even have food,” said Ko Jana, a displaced person.
Taliban attacks on Lashkargah intensified following the announcement of the withdrawal of foreign forces from the country.
Security forces pledged that they will ensure that the province remains safe from Taliban threats.