The Ministry of Interior (MoI) on Sunday said that the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) have cleared Malistan district of Ghazni province of insurgents and are now advancing in Jaghori district.
“Afghan forces have cleared Malistan district of insurgents and Afghan commandos, police special forces and NDS units are launching air and ground operations on insurgents from two directions to clear Jaghori district as well,” said MoI spokesman Najib Danish in a Facebook post.
He said that two units of territorial army forces comprised of 6,000 personnel have been organized to maintain security in these two districts and will be assigned for the security of the areas once they complete their military training.
On November 6, the Taliban for the first time launched group attacks from a few directions on Jaghori district, one of Afghanistan’s most secure districts in Ghazni province.
Interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish at the time said security forces had withdrawn from two outposts after clashes intensified but said additional troops have since arrived along with equipment in the district.
Later on Ghazni MPs in the Wolesi Jirga (the Lower House of Parliament) accused government, especially security departments, of being negligent regarding the Jaghori attack.
The MPs said although they repeatedly urged government to send backup forces to Jaghori and save people from Taliban’s attacks, security departments did nothing to help.
The Jaghori and Malisran district clashes come just three months after Taliban launched group attacks on Ghazni and seized part of the city.
On Saturday 17 November, security officials said government forces have made some progress in Malistan and Jaghori districts.
Officials said the Afghan forces launched military operations on the outskirts of the districts on Saturday.
On Saturday, Resolute Support Commander in southeast zone Gen. Richard Johnson visited Ghazni where he discussed operations with local officials.
“The forces are advancing. The military operation is led by the Army Chief of Staff Gen. (Sharif) Yaftali,” said Ghafoor Ahmad Jawed, a spokesman for the Ministry of Defense.
Jaghori was one of the most secure areas in the central parts of the country over the past decade. However, Taliban said the motive behind their attack on Jaghori was because Jaghori residents interfered in the recent conflict in Khas Uruzgan district.
President Ashraf Ghani promised action following protests
On November 12, Hundreds of protesters marched through the night from the western parts of Kabul to the city center, in protest against what they described it neglect on the part of government to secure large parts of Ghazni and Uruzgan provinces.
The protestors warned they would continue their demonstration unless government sent in reinforcements and air support to tackle insurgents in Jaghori and Malistan districts of Ghazni province.
However, in telephonic discussions with protesters later in the day, President Ashraf Ghani assured them that the Afghan Air Force (AAF) had been deployed to the battlefield.
The protestors then called off their demonstration following Ghani’s assurance.
Security Leaders Under Fire Over Ghazni, Uruzgan Crisis
Military commentators persistently criticized the Afghan security institutions for what they described as negligence in tackling the Taliban incursion in parts of the country over the past few weeks.
Analysts argue that in most cases, government officials have been focusing on other business rather than on security – especially in areas where problems were reported - such as Ghazni’s Malistan and Jaghori districts.
Ghazni has 18 districts, of which Malistan, Jaghori and Nawor districts have always been relatively secure. The other districts have often witnessed heavy clashes between government forces and the Taliban.
Figures indicate that the conflict in Ghazni and Uruzgan have displaced at least 5,000 families – many of whom have fled to Ghazni and Uruzgan centers as well as Kabul.