25 civilians killed in Baghlan conflict: probe team
PUL-I-KHUMRI (Pajhwok): A president-appointed investigation delegation that travelled to northern Baghlan province on Monday said 25 civilians, including women and children, lost their lives in two months to the ongoing conflict in the province.
The delegation, led by Borders and Tribal Affairs Minister Mohammad Gulab Mangal, comprised representatives from the ministries of defence and interior, the National Directorate of Security (NDS) and the Attorney General Office (AGO).
Mangal told Pajhwok Afghan News the security situation in Dand-i-Ghori and Dahan-i-Ghori localities was concerning and that clashes between government forces and Taliban insurgents were still ongoing.
He said the Taliban had expanded their influence to Dand-i-Ghori and had also captured some areas in Dahan-i-Ghori.
He said in the last two months, 25 civilians including women and children who were caught in the crossfire had lost their lives in the two areas.
The minister said they met provincial council members, lawmakers and local elders and they all insisted on clearing operations against insurgents and deployment of permanent security forces to the insecure areas.
“Our meetings and evaluations are ongoing and very soon we’ll prepare our report on the security situation and submit it to the leaders of the unity government,” he added.
Haji Nazir, a resident of Niazullah village in Dand-i-Ghori, said in the last two months, hundreds of houses had been damaged due to fighting. “We’re fed up with this kind of war. We want security and a break to breathe.”
Other residents said they did not trust the government’s representatives, saying their visit brought to changes to the situation.
Mohammad Sardar, a local elder, said: “I want to tell the delegation and the president to either conduct forceful operations against Taliban or leave Dand-i-Ghori and Dahan-i-Ghori to the insurgents.”
Dand-i-Ghori located near the provincial capital, Puli-i-Khumri, fell to Taliban two months ago. Since then, the conflict in the area has forced hundreds of families to flee homes to safer places.
From this area, the Taliban have also fired around 12 rockets into the provincial capital, killing a child and a man and wounding 10 others.
Safdar Mohsini, the provincial council head, said: “The government should launch operations in Taliban-controlled areas and deploy an army battalion to Dand-i-Ghori.”
Security officials say they have been working on plans to regain control of the lost areas.
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