At least one civilian was killed and more than 10 others including women and children were wounded in ongoing clashes between two rival Taliban groups in Shindand district in Herat province, local officials confirmed on Friday.
One of the groups is led by Mullah Samad who supports Taliban’s leader Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada while another group is led by Mullah Nangiyalai who supports Mullah Rasul, leader of Taliban’s divided faction.
Herat governor’s spokesman Jailani Farhad confirmed the report and said government forces are responsible to protect the people in its military operations.
“Protecting civilians is in the top priority of government. The Herat governor has directed relevant offices to protect civilians in any kind of situation,” Farhad said.
Meanwhile, a number of local residents said the wounded were taken to a public hospital in Herat.
“A mortal shell hit our house when the Taliban groups were fighting. My wife and my son were wounded. The locals came and helped us to take the wounded to the hospital,” said Mir Ahmad, a resident of Shindand district.
“My four daughters and my son as well as my wife were injured when Taliban’s mortar shell landed in our house. Taliban entered in our village and we took the wounded to the hospital,” said Mina, another resident of the district.
Meanwhile, a number of members of Herat Provincial Council said Taliban militants are using civilians as human shields in their clashes.
“The civilians neither have the ability to defend themselves nor are they able to prevent the Taliban from entering into their houses. This is the responsibility of government to protect civilians and ensure their safety,” said Mahdi Hadid, member of Herat Provincial Council.
Reports indicate that the row between the two Taliban groups in Shindand is ongoing for the past two years.