A number of Badakhshan residents and civil society activists on Tuesday voiced their concern over the Taliban’s growing activities in the north-eastern province.
Attending a gathering on Tuesday they called on government to take the issue seriously and to step up efforts to stop the Taliban’s advancement in parts of the province – particularly in Zebak and Ishkashim districts.
“Badakhshan is facing serious security problems. The enemy is extending its territory every day. We do not have a police chief in Badakhshan,”said Saifuddin Rasa Sayis, head of Badakhshan Civil Society Forum.
“Government must help us. We do not have schools, education, security, safety, stability or peace. Are we members of your country or not?" asked Mujibullah Sharifi, a religious scholar in the province.
According to residents, Taliban fighters have forged a route directly through Warduj in Badakhshan to Pakistan’s Chitral district and through Ishkashim district into Tajikistan.
“The main reason behind the fall of Zebak district is lack of coordination among security forces,” Esmatullah Baqiri, a resident of Zebak, said.
This comes after Taliban launched their summer offensive on Friday. As one of their first moves under the new offensive, the insurgent group launched an attack on Zebak district in Badakhshan, which has since fallen to the group.
However, security officials said they are fully committed to retaking control of the district.