Fighting has reached five cities in the north as many districts around provincial capitals have fallen to the Taliban in the last few weeks, mostly in Faryab and Takhar provinces.
Lawmakers and residents warned that fighting around the cities of Maimana in Faryab, Taluqan in Takhar, Pul-e-Khumri in Baghlan, Sar-e-Pul city in Sar-e-Pul and Kunduz city in Kunduz province have raised concerns among the people.
The main route that connects Kabul with northern provinces has been closed to traffic for the last two days because of Taliban influence in Doshi district in Baghlan.
The government announced that security forces had retaken two districts in Takhar; however, many districts across the country that are in Taliban control are being reported: Sources said that security forces left the three districts of Sholgara, Dawlat Abad and Kushinda in Balkh; the Qala-e-Zal and Imam Sahib district in Kunduz; Doshi and Julga districts in Baghlan; Aqcha district in Jawzjan; and Zazai Aryub district in the eastern province of Paktia in the last 24 hours.
“There isn’t anyone to help. The fighting has reached the entrance to Pul-e-Khumri,” said Ajmal, a resident of Pul-e-Khumri.
“How long will this bloodshed continue?” said Enayat, a Pul-e-Khumri resident.
A woman, a resident of Balkh, who was on the way to Kabul said she lost her husband who was caught in a crossfire.
“Suddenly there were clashes. We asked the driver to stop. He didn’t. Glass fell on the people. I lost my father,” said Sahar, a Balkh resident.
Activists from Faryab who have come to Kabul said that the city of Maimana, the capital of Faryab, is on the verge of collapse and that there is a need for urgent action by the government.
“Last night, Faryab residents had no place to spend the night. They were displaced. I don’t know why the government does not pay attention to this?” said Frozan Khalilyar, an activist from Faryab.
Pul-e-Khumri and Taluqan residents meanwhile said security forces are in dire need of reinforcements.
The fighting has also gripped the northern provinces of Sar-e-Pul and Kunduz. Kunduz temporarily fell to the Taliban back in 2015 and 2016.
“The situation in Kunduz is deeply concerning. The government officials have no plan to address it,” said Amruddin Wali, a member of the provincial council in Kunduz.
But the Defense Ministry said that thorough plans are underway to suppress the Taliban.
“They are fighting the enemy with full force and the security and defense institutions--from the leadership to the soldiers on the battlefield--are making efforts to bring positive changes in those areas,’’ said Rohullah Ahmadzai, a spokesman for the ministry.
Figures collected by TOLOnews show that at least 60 districts have either fallen to the Taliban or are currently being fought over by government forces and the Taliban.
“They are selling districts and are leaving them. It is not a tactical retreat. It is a deal,” said Abdul Qadir, a Kabul resident.