100 day after its recapture, Kunduz haunted by insecurity
KUNDUZ CITY (Pajhwok): A hundred days after the government recaptured Kunduz City, residents complain of a Taliban presence on the outskirts of the strategic provincial capital.
The city collapsed after a few hours of clashes on September 28. The Taliban remained in control of the city for three days before government forces wrested it back after a two- week operation.
Residents say the Taliban are still active in areas around Kunduz City, blocking telecommunication services from 5:00pm to 6:00am. The rebel presence just five kilometres from the city.
Mohammad Yousuf Ayubi, head of the provincial council, says residents were initially optimistic the security forces would purge the city of rebels and establish peace there.
But 100 days after the recapture of Kunduz, the public representative adds the people are now disappointed with government performance.
Shafiqullah, a local inhabitant, claims most of families have made preparations for migrating to safer provinces as the security situation in Kunduz has not yet improved.
On the other hand, security officials say clearing operations are underway in different parts of the province. The insurgents would never be able to capture the city again, they insist.
Deputy police chief, Mohammad Masoom Hashimi, asserts security forces are fully prepared to frustrate Taliban attempts to seize the provincial capital.
Hailing recent raids and night operations by Afghan commandoes as a success, the police officer urges the people to cooperate with their security forces.
Officials say 180 civilians were killed and 330 others wounded in Kunduz fighting, but the UN and human rights campaigners put the civilian toll at 290 dead and 560 wounded.
Gen. Mohiuddin Ghori, the 20th Pamir Military Corps commander, says 1,345 Taliban, including senior commanders, have been killed since Sept. 28.
With the Afghan National Army commando unit playing a central role, the operation involves ground troops and air force personnel, the commander says.
Key rebel commanders, including shadow district chief for Dasht-i-Archi Dr. Hussain, son of Rohullah, and Syed Rahman, a landmine expert, have been killed.
The fighting in Kunduz caused heavy losses to the government and the economy of the country. Around 20,000 families -- or 100,000 individuals -- were internally displaced.
The fall of Kunduz City badly affected economic activities, resulting in a sharp decline in the revenue of Sher Khan Dry Port.
Kunduz borders Tajikistan and through the Sher Khan Port national and international traders do business with Central Asian states, Middle Eastern and Gulf countries.
Shahabuddin Bawar, the customs director, says after the fall of Kunduz City, Tajikistan closed the friendship bridge over Amu River. As a result, trade activities at the port came to a halt.
Bawar recalls before the fall of the provincial capital, the custom department generated 65 million afghanis revenue a month. However, after the debacle, the revenue has come down to eight million afghanis.
Previously, 100 containers full of goods were exported and 10 containers imported on a daily basis. Currently, the exports are 15 containers and imports two containers. He links the decline to growing insecurity, a rise in duty on Pakistani goods and disappointment among businessmen.
President Ashraf Ghani, during his visit to the province, approved the creation of three new districts and ordered the sacking of some National Directorate of Security (NDS) officials.
He said 20 police officers had been replaced for negligence in duty and the performance of another 20 was being evaluated. If found guilty of negligence, they will be investigated.
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