IDPs seek highway security for return to Kunduz
KUNDUZ CITY (Pajhwok): Despite the ouster of militants from Kunduz City, some displaced families in neighboring Baghlan province complain they could not return home due to the presence of insurgents on main highways.
The households complain the Taliban had a presence in Dokan Adam Khan, Charsary, Dasht-i-Abedan, Angoor Bagh, Ali Abad, Gardab, Charshanbe Tapa, Jarkhushk and Jelawgir localities on Takhar-Kunduz and Kunduz-Kabul highways.
They say the Taliban stop most of vehicles that travel from Kabul, Balkh, Baghlan, Takhar and Badakhshan provinces to Kunduz. They take away those they consider government and military personnel.
Sher Ali, a driver who was on the way to Kunduz from Takhar with his family, told Pajhwok Afghan News the Taliban on motorcycles on Monday stopped his car in Charsari locality and took his brother with them without any reason.
He claimed his brother was a shopkeeper and he was still unaware about his fate. Ali said the Taliban stopped each vehicle and searched them, urging the government to conduct clearing operations on the highways so that families could safely return to their homes in Kunduz.
Kunduz city was overrun by Taliban insurgents on September 28 for three days before it was retaken by security forces. Two weeks on, there are still intermittent clashes around the city.
Ahmad Tariq, another displaced person, returning from Mazar-i-Sharif, said the Taliban had set up check-posts on the road near Kunduz City. Many families want to return home but are concerned at highway security.
Following the clearance of the city, life is getting back to normal and shops are reopening. Ramin, one of the shopkeepers, said after two weeks of heavy conflict he had come out of home.
He was satisfied with the situation in the city despite his shop being partially damaged. He confirmed price hike still persisted after the fighting, but things were gradually coming to normal.
Syed Sarwar Hussaini, Kunduz police spokesman, said house-to-house search operations were underway to identify the remaining insurgents in the city. He assured the security situation on highways was also improving.
A cabinet meeting on Monday evaluated the security situation in Kunduz. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr. Abdullah Abdullah said progress had taken place in clearing the city of insurgents and the Takhar-Kunduz highway had been reopened.
He said Baghlan-Kunduz highway that was blocked last week had been reopened too.
In a statement, the Taliban have said instead of retaining control of Kunduz City and suffering more casualties, they have retreated to strengthen their positions.
The group says by overrunning Kunduz City, it has achieved more than its original plans and managed to release prisoners besides seizing weapons and ammunitions along with military vehicles.
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