30 houses torched as Dangam clashes rage
ASADABAD (Pajhwok): As fierce clashes continued, armed insurgents on Tuesday set alight 30 houses of uprising members in the Dangam district of eastern Kunar province, officials and residents said.
Local officials said about 2,000 insurgents, mostly Pakistanis, resumed their attacks on Tuesday morning on posts established by members of uprising groups in the troubled town.
The uprising members said they clashed for the third day in a row against the heavily armed rebels, but government forces were yet to properly assist them.
Maulvi Inayatullah, the Dangam district chief, said so far 30 houses of the tribesmen had been torched by the insurgents. He said both the sides had suffered casualties, but exact figures were not immediately known.
He said a number of residents had been injured, but they could not be taken to hospital due to the fierce clashes and landmines planted on roads.
The residents, spearheading the uprising, asked the government a day earlier for air support. The fighting erupted after insurgents attacked the locals some days earlier.
One uprising leader Haji Muzamil told Pajhwok Afghan News the fighters had resumed their attacks after a brief overnight lull. He said there have been casualties but exact figures were not immediately available.
On Tuesday morning, the houses of tribal elder Haji Khan Jan and several others were set alight by the militants, he said, reiterating his call for immediate airstrikes.
Governor Shujaul Mulk Jalala verified intense fighting in the district, saying security forces were going to join the locals in the war against the guerrillas. However, he explained, landmines impeded progress.
Haji Muzamil said the tribal militia had suffered casualties in the latest attacks, but he had no exact figures. He once again urged the government to come to their rescue as he feared the tribal militia would be vanquished if the government did not launch airstrikes to target the large number of militants.
He said there had been airstrikes last night, but the strikes did not cause any considerable casualties to the insurgents.
Governor Jalala said 17 militants had been killed and 27 others wounded during the clashes since yesterday. So far six Afghan National Army soldiers had been killed and another 15 injured as a result of roadside bomb attacks, he said.
The governor had no information about casualties suffered by the uprising tribesmen and said the conflict area was remote and mountainous.
Jalala also said he had provided information to the central government about the ongoing conflict and he had been assured of assistance.
The Ministry of Defence in a statement said ANA troops were actively taking part in the Dangam battle. It said so far 17 rebels, including six foreigners, had been killed and 30 others wounded.
The MoD statement confirmed five ANA soldiers had been killed and four others wounded in the ongoing conflict.
The Defence Ministry said ANA’s 201st Selab Military Corps had been dispatched to the Dangam district to assist other security forces there.
A Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the fighters had overrun another three security posts, capturing a huge quantity of arms and ammunitions.
Numan Hatafi, the 201st Selab Military Corps spokesman, told Pajhwok Afghan News dozens of insurgents had been killed and 47 injured during the clashes.
He said security forces had reached the scene and had entered clashes with the insurgents. He confirmed so far five ANA troops had been killed and six others wounded.
A local Taliban commander, Qari Zia Rahman, said the rebels attacked residents because they had waged a war against them. He rejected dozens of fighters had been killed and wounded in the conflict.
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