Officials in Sar-e-Pul warned that oil reservoirs in the northern province will fall to the Taliban if “serious attention” is not paid to the security situation there.
The provincial governor’s spokesman Wahidullah Amani said military equipment worth millions of dollars is kept around the oil reservoirs, which according to him are under threat of militants.
The officials expressed concern as Taliban has resumed attacks on Sar-e-Pul city from different sides.
In one of these battles on Monday night, at least 20 soldiers were killed, the Sar-e-Pul governor said on Tuesday.
The oil reservoirs are situated 5km from the center of Sar-e-Pul.
“Military equipment, including armored vehicles worth millions of dollars, is stationed around the oil reservoirs,” Amani said.
“Based on promises of security agencies, it was expected that a military operation would kick off in Sar-e-Pul at the end of December last year, but unfortunately there is no sign of this operation so far,” said Mohammad Noor Rahmani, head of Sar-e-Pul Provincial Council.
According to local officials, clashes have stopped, but Taliban have resumed attacks on the “vulnerable areas”.
“Why is Sar-e-Pul under attack every day? Why have districts and villages of Sar-e-Pul been under Taliban control for years?” asked Aziza Jalis, an MP from Sar-e-Pul.
Meanwhile, Ministry of Interior Affairs’ spokesman Najib Danish said, “the fall of the province is not a matter for discussion. Our countrymen there (in Sar-e-Pul) should not be concerned. We have enough troops there."
Reports indicate that mineral and natural resources are out of government’s control, or are less controlled by government in “many” parts of the country – particularly in the north-eastern Badakhshan province.
“No doubt, mostly terrorists and Taliban, who fight against government, benefit from Badakhshan mineral resources. For instance, two gold mines are under Taliban control in Raghistan district (in Badakhshan) where they misuse the mineral resources to equip and finance (their fighters),” said Ahmad Jawed Mujaddidi, a member of Badakhshan Provincial Council.