As Taliban attacks continue, an army commander in the north said that “hundreds of troops” have been deployed to protect the Hairatan border town in the northern province of Balkh.
Kaldar district has been contested between the government forces and the Taliban in the last few weeks, something that has threatened trade and transit through Hairatan that shares a border with Uzbekistan.
The forces have been stationed at bases as close as five kilometers to the east and west of the border town, said Sayed Saadullah Hashemi, the deputy commander of Afghan Army’s 209 Shaheen Corps.
He said that no attack has happened by the Taliban in the last two days.
“Right now, security forces, including commandos, the border forces, the special units have created a security belt within a five kilometers area to protect the border town from all sides,” Hashemi said.
Officials in Hairatan said no truck has entered the border from Uzbekistan in the last two days while normally 250 trucks cross the border to Afghanistan daily.
“The recent wave of insecurity in the north has reduced the traffic at the border town,” said Jamshid Khorasanpoor, head of maintenance and service department of Hairatan.
Residents of the border town said markets are closed and many families have left their homes following the rise of insecurity in Balkh.
“People are worried. One goes to Mazar (the capital of Balkh), while others go to villages,” said Abdul Karim, a resident of Hairatan border town.
“The town is closed. People are scared,” said Fida Mohammad, a resident of Hairatan.
According to local officials, the Taliban has reached as close as five kilometers to Hairatan after capturing Kaldar and Shortepa districts in Balkh. But army commanders assured that they would use all their resources to protect the area.
“We will use all our efforts and resources, especially at the border forces regiment, to defend and protect the area,” said Mohammad Jan Mohammadi, a border forces commander in the north.
Taliban has captured nine districts in Balkh, increasing their pressure on the border town of Hairatan.
“We will soon launch an operation in various parts,” Hairatan police chief Mohammad Shafi Faiz said.
Zare, Kushinda, Sholgara. Chimtal, Chahar Bolak, Balkh, Dawlat Abad, Shortepa, and Kaldar districts in Balkh have recently fallen to the Taliban.