15 civilians killed in Ghormach fighting
MAIMANA (Pajhwok): The conflict in Ghormach district of northern Faryab province has left at least 15 civilians dead and 7,000 people displaced, residents said on Sunday.
Last week Taliban insurgents overran Ghormach district centre, with security operations still ongoing for regaining its control.
A local elder, who did not wish to be named, told Pajhwok Afghan News at least 15 civilians had lost their lives since the clashes erupted in the district.
He said recently three women, two children and a man suffered casualties after a rocket hit their house. Three more people including two children also lost their lives after a mortar shell hit their house, he added.
He said the majority of these casualties were caused by Taliban and a 13-year-old boy was killed on his way due to firing by security forces. He said other civilians had lost their lives due to sporadic clashes between security forces and Taliban.
Major Reza Rezai, the 209th Shaheen Corps first division spokesman in Faryab, said he did not have exact figures for civilian casualties.
Nematullah Sarhadi, Ghormach district chief, also admitted to civilian casualties but had no exact information since the district was under Taliban control.
He placed the blame for civilian casualties on the Taliban. The insurgent group, however, has not yet commented about the issue.
According to the local elder, the Ghormach fighting has displaced 7,000 people with most of them living in dire situation in areas around the district. “I could only save myself and my family. For the last four days, we have been living in a desert 20 kilometres from the district centre with other families in tents.”
According to local officials, once the district is cleared from insurgents, aid would be sent to the displaced families.
Major Reza Rezai said 12 Taliban fighters had been killed in the operations “Sword 15” aimed at regaining control of Ghormach.
He said the district chief had been shifted to the army camp near the district and after regaining its control, he’d resume office.
Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, a Taliban spokesman, said the group had surrounded the army camp.
The Taliban held captive the district police chief, Abdul Maji Gelambafi along with 12 other policemen last week and killed all of them in captivity. Their bodies were later shifted to Maimana city by the International Committee of the Red Cross.
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