Offensive to drive militants from Ghorak begins
KANDAHAR CITY (Pajhwok): A major security operation has been launched to flush out armed insurgents from the Ghorak district of southern Kandahar province, police said on Monday.
The operation follows the killing of the district police chief, Mohammad Shafi, by the rebels four days ago.
Shafi was heading police reinforcements to a police post under attack from insurgents in the Surkhabad area when himself was ambushed and killed.
His killing shows the insurgents have intensified their activities in the town.
Kandahar police spokesman Zia Durrani told Pajhwok Afghan News the operation was launched in the Ghorak district on Monday.
He said the offensive involved national, local police and Afghan National Army (ANA) personnel.
He said the massive operation was planned after insurgents threatened security posts and started creating problems for local residents in a number of areas.
He said the operation had newly been launched and he had no reports about any achievement.
There are reports that about 400 insurgents had sneaked into the Ghorak district from nearby Khakrez district of neighbouring Helmand province to capture the town, but security forces have taken position.
Sources say insurgents intensified their attacks after capturing two security posts in the Surkhabad and Kala Masha areas, killing eight policemen.
Residents of the said areas say insurgents have expelled residents from their homes to use them as bastions for attacks on security forces in Yakh Tun, Surkhabad, Korkosham, Charpayan, Woni and several others villages.
However, government officials are yet to confirm these reports.
The governor’s spokesman, Samim Khpalwak, told Pajhwok Afghan News the military operation had been launched in the Ghorak district but latest updates could not be ascertained because telephones did not work in the area.
Ghorak, which is about 100 kilometres north of Kandahar City, shares borders with Helmand and central Uruzgan provinces.
The insurgents had been in control of the town until they were driven two years ago as a result of a military operation.
However, residents say the government’s writ could be felt only in the district centre, where a foreign forces’ military base exists. The rebels rule all villages and roads connecting with the district centre.
In previous interviews with Pajhwok Afghan News, residents had said that insurgents had not only intensified their activities but had also mined the highway leading to Kandahar City.
Seeped in poverty and deprived of basic facilities of life, the district’s population is estimated at 8000 individuals, with most associated with farming and livestock.
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