The Afghan National Security and Defense Forces (ANDSF) are currently fighting the Taliban in 104 provinces, the Afghan security agencies said on Tuesday, noting a 7 percent increase compared to the same period last year.
Reflecting on the numbers of Taliban attacks across the country, Ahmad Zia Saraj, the head of the Afghan intelligence agency—the National Directorate of Security (NDS)--said that the militant group has launched 3,500 attacks since the start of the year.
Hayatullah Hayat, the acting minister of interior, said that the current war in Afghanistan is part of a propaganda effort of regional players, and stated that the Afghan National Police (ANP) is determined to support the ANA in repelling Taliban attacks.
On Tuesday, Afghanistan’s Meshrano Jirga—the upper house of Parliament--summoned the heads of Afghanistan’s security agencies to inquire about the security situation in the country.
Senators expressed surprise over the situation in some provincial capitals.
“There is a problem in the policy-making, there are management issues and nepotism and political issues facing the country’s security and defense forces which are creating major problems for us,” said Mohammad Alam Ezedyar, the deputy head of the Meshrano Jirga.
“The Taliban made their way very easily to the prison in Baghlan, they also reached Helmand and Baghlan--the head of NDS is here, we should have preemptive measures,” said senator Rahmatullah Achakzai.
“Why haven't you taken these measures before? Why don’t you have a proper plan against the enemies?” asked Senator Mualim Lalagul.
“The war has increased during the spring and everyone knows about it, our assessments indicate that there is a seven percent increase in the Taliban’s war,” said Hayatullah Hayat, the acting Minister of Interior.
“Your security and defense forces are very determined and prepared, the enemy has suffered massive casualties and they do not have more strength,” said Ahmad Zia Saraj, the head of NDS.
“Regional intelligence and our enemies are spreading propaganda suggesting that parts here and there in Afghanistan are collapsing; this calculation is totally wrong,” said Hayatullah Hayat.
“Nothing has changed in Pakistan’s intentions, so what is our duty? We should settle our internal problems. We must empower ourselves and this will prevent Pakistan’s interference,” said Ahmad Zia Saraj, the head of the NDS.
Acting Minister of Interior Hayatullah Hayat meanwhile said that regional intelligence agencies are behind the current war in Afghanistan, and he confirmed his ministry’s commitment to supporting the Afghan army in the fight against the militants.
“What were the factors that led to the collapse of checkpoints in Laghman? Why did you (security agencies) not provide support to the soldiers while they were appealing for assistance during the fall of Dawlat Shah district,” said Gul Mari Laghmani, a member of the Afghanistan parliament.
“What were the reasons and the factors behind the sudden security turbulence in Laghman? Isn’t there good coordination between the local administration? Or the center is not focusing on the issue? You must know about it,” said Mir Hatam Tarahkhel.
According to the local officials in Baghlan, recent battles have left 15,000 people homeless in Baghlan province.
“Over 15,000 families have been displaced and this is a large number, and the figures are increasing,” said Sharifullah Shafaq, the head of Baghlan's migration department.
“Baghlan and Laghman are both facing security threats, there are some other factors behind the security challenges, we are closely working on the issue; until now we have managed to prevent the conspiracy,” said Hayatullah Hayat, the acting Minister of Interior, referring to proxy interests behind the fighting.
“There was a bombardment. I live around this clinic, which is destroyed now, nothing is left for us,” said Sher Azam, a resident of Baghlan-e-Markazi district.
“We evacuated and left all our belongings behind, all the people become displaced,” said Mohammad Ishaq, a resident of Baghlan.
Last month the Afghan Ministry of Refugees and Repatriations said that the two months of war had displaced over 8,000 families in northern Afghanistan.
Laghman, Kunduz, Baghlan, Helmand and Kandahar have all recently witnessed battles between the Afghan security forces and the Taliban.
Saraj meanwhile criticized Pakistan’s continued interference in Afghanistan’s affairs and called on the Afghan people to mobilize in order to face the country's current challenges.
In recent weeks the Taliban has launched major offensives in at least five districts across various provinces and seized control.