At least 5,000 families have been displaced in the northern province of Kunduz following heavy clashes on the outskirts of Kunduz city and some districts of the province.
Earlier this week, four bases of Afghan forces fell to the Taliban along the road that connects Kunduz city with Khan Abad district to the north of the province.
According to officials, the government forces manning the Kunduz city gates were on alert on Saturday evening following the fall of the four army bases.
“At least 5,000 families have been displaced in Khan Abad and Imam Sahib districts and the center and the outskirts of Kunduz city,” said Yusuf Ayubi, head of the Kunduz Provincial Council.
Some of the displaced persons said they want more attention from the government to the Kunduz situation.
“The clashes have been ongoing in our village for the last 15 days. Our village and seven mosques are under threat. You will hear the sound of mortars, rockets and Kalashnikov guns every day,” said Abdul Fatah, a displaced person in Kunduz.
“We neither oppose the Taliban nor the government forces. We have been stuck between the two and are burning like wood,” said a displaced person.
On Saturday, a large number of Kunduz residents held a protest in Kunduz city, criticizing what they called the government institutions’ inattention to the threats the province faces. The protesters said the inattention has increased the influence of the Taliban in the province.
“I visited all security belts of the city. The situation is fully under our control,” Kunduz governor Abdul Sattar Mirzakwal said.
Kunduz residents said the performance of the security forces in the province is questionable.
“There is no more than 1,500 Taliban fighters in Kunduz, but on this side, there are army corps, police headquarters, the National Directorate of Security, vehicles and equipment, but they carry bricks on these vehicles” said Abdul Mannan Zafarzoi, a Kunduz resident, blaming security agencies for lack of action against the Taliban.
“We travel through agricultural lands instead of roads due to fear from mines,” said Ghani, a Kunduz resident.
This comes as violence has increased around the country amid peace efforts by the Afghan government. At least 10 civilians, including women and children, were killed in two explosions in Ghazni and Jawzjan provinces on Sunday, according to local officials.