The Ministry of Interior (MoI) said on Tuesday reinforcements have been sent to Malistan and Jaghori districts in Ghazni province to bring the situation under control and that high-ranking military officials – including the Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mohammad Sharif Yaftali – are in the province to plan a large-scale military operation.
“A sufficient number of reinforcement troops have arrived in Malistan and Jaghori. Senior security officials are in Ghazni. The enemy has suffered very high casualties due to ground and air operations by our forces,” said Najib Danish, spokesman for the Ministry of Interior.
This comes a day after a mass demonstration in Kabul which saw hundreds of people converge on the area around the Presidential Palace in protest against the Ghazni security crisis.
Ghazni officials meanwhile said at least 30 members of the Afghan security forces, including 20 Commandos, have lost their lives in the past two days in clashes in the province and that the Taliban has also suffered casualties.
“All security forces have been mobilized and hopefully the situation is under control. We will hopefully take measures and steps which we cannot make public through the media right now,” Ghazni governor Wahidullah Kalimzai said.
Meanwhile, reports from Farah indicate that police outposts on the outskirts of Farah city have come under attack a few times in the past two days.
Footage from local reporters in Farah show that civilian houses have been damaged in the past two days in clashes on the outskirts of the western city.
The reports indicate that the Taliban attack started at around 9pm on Monday. The Ministry of Interior said both sides suffered casualties in the clashes.
“Bullets have hit our house and have broken windows and damaged walls,” said one Farah resident.
“The shooting started from 1am at night. After Taliban left the area, tanks came and there was a rain of bullets on us until dawn. Women and children were all scared,” said another Farah resident.
This comes after Farah and Ghazni residents expressed their concerns over insecurity and a new wave of conflict in the two provinces.
On Monday, members of the Ghazni provincial council warned that Malistan district was on the verge of collapse and that heavy fighting was ongoing in Jaghori, another district in the province.
They said a humanitarian crisis would unfold if more troops were not deployed to these areas. The provincial council also said security forces have suffered a high casualty toll in the ongoing conflict.
Malistan and Jaghori districts were until recently among the most secure districts in the country, but in the past few days, clashes have been ongoing between security forces and the Taliban.
Ghani Promised Action
On Monday, hundreds of protesters marched from the western parts of Kabul to the city center in protest against what they say is 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.
This came after the Taliban last Wednesday launched group attacks from a few directions on Jaghori district. The conflict then spread to neighboring Malistan.
These clashes came just three months after Taliban launched attacks on Ghazni city and seized control of some areas for a few days.
Ghazni has 18 districts, of which Malistan, Jaghori and Nawor districts have until now always been relatively secure. The other districts have often witnessed heavy clashes between government forces and the Taliban.