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Hundreds flee Sar-i-Pul’s Tabar area, clash continues

Hundreds flee Sar-i-Pul’s Tabar area, clash continues

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Dec 14, 2017 - 18:52

SAR-I-PUL CITY (Pajhwok): Hundreds of families have fled homes as clashes between security forces and Talibaninfo-icon militants continued in Tabar area of Sancharak district in northern Sar-i-Pul province on Thursday, officials said.

The massive fighting has so far displaced nearly 500 families from the district, Zabihullah Amani, the Sar-i-Pul governor’s spokesman, told Pajhwok Afghan News.

A survey team was dispatched to the area on Thursday for assessing the situation of the displaced people, he said.

Earlier, a security official had told Pajhwok that the Tabar area fell to Taliban’s hands after Raees Karim, a local uprising leader, joined them on Tuesday night (Dec 12). He had said Karim defected to the Taliban along with several fighters.

The Taliban also confirmed Karim had joined the movement along with 40 fighters. The defection happened after Karim entered an armed clash with another uprising commander Ibrahim.

Following a clash between the two, the area was captured by Taliban, but the clash is still ongoing in Tabar area west of Sancharak district centre. Some 6,000 families reside in the area.

However, the Sar-i-Pul governor had denied Karim joined the Taliban, saying the clash between the two uprising commanders provided the insurgents the opportunity to attack and overrun western parts of the Tabar village. He had said security reinforcements were dispatched to the area.

Mualvi Naqibullah, a resident of Tabar area who has come to Sar-i-Pul city, the provincial capital, said many inhabitants of the area fled homes due to the war and took refuge in nearby villages, the provincial capital and even neighboring provinces.

He said his family along with 30 other families moved to Sar-i-Pul city and were currently residing in friends’ homes.

Mualvi Noor Mohammad Baik, a provincial council member, said hundreds families had fled the area seeking refuge in neighboring villages and Jawzjan and Balkh provinces.

Karima, a displaced woman, said: “We, womeninfo-icon and children and one man were able to flee homes in three vehicles. We have no money or food. The government has so far taken no step to assist us.”

Zulikha, another displaced woman, said: “Many women and children are facing various issues but no one comes to help them. And many other families are still trapped in the area.”

Another resident of the area, wishing anonymity, told Pajhwok over the telephone that a woman was also killed in the ongoing fighting and a second woman and two children injured.

Khalil, provincial police chief, said the operation had been slow because the Taliban used homes as bastions and civilians as human shields. “However, the fighting is intensely underway.”

According to Mohammad Azim Qoyash, a Meshrano Jirgainfo-icon member, said five civilians had been killed so far in the ongoing clash in Tabar area. Residents said also four civilians had been injured.

There has been so far no word from local authorities regarding the casualties.

sns/ma

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