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After US forces exit, residents fear Taliban return

After US forces exit, residents fear Taliban return

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On
Aug 05, 2020 - 16:31

JALALABAD (Pajhwok): Residents of two districts in eastern Nangarhar province on Wednesday expressed their deep concern over the withdrawal of US troops, saying they were worried about a return of Talibaninfo-icon militants to their areas.

However, Afghan security forces assured them of their security while confirming the presence of Taliban insurgents in some areas of the Spin Ghar and Haska Mina districts.

Meanwhile, residents of the mentioned districts claim the ongoing conflict has caused them financial losses and ruined homes, schools, roads and hospitals but the government, despite many promises, did nothing so far.

The Nangarhar governor’s house confirmed the withdrawal of foreign troops from these two districts about a week back but residents said the US troops had left almost three months back.

The US troops’ base in Mandara valley in Sping Ghar district has been handed over to Afghan National Army (ANA)’s Selab military corps.

An Afghan soldier in the base, Islamuddin Nuristani, told Pajhwok that they were equipped with heavy weaponry and they would not allow anyone to capture areas at the cost of their lives.

Commander of the Afghan troops, Hashmatullah, said the foreigners left no weapons but the base and its electrical system. However, he said they possessed heavy weapons including artillery.

About the presence of militants, he said, there was a far away village, Morgai, where armed militants linked to Lashkar-i-Islami were present.

Local residents said they were concerned about the security situation after the exit of foreign forces as insurgents could stage a comeback.

Tribal elder and resident of Shadal bazaar area of Spin Ghar district, Malak Awal Khan, said the situation had improved compared to the past, but the appearance of militants in far away areas had created concerns  about a fresh conflict.

ANA Selab Military Corps commander in the east, Gen. Mohammad Karim Niazi, told Pajhwok that their troops were ready and able to defend the soil and allow no one to create anarchy.

Local residents said clashes had destroyed their homes, roads, schools mosques and healthinfo-icon centers. They said the government had many times promised to reconstruct these, but it did not do so.

Obaidullah Shinwari, who lives in Chona village of Mamand Tangi area in Spin Ghar district, said they waited for government’s help for a long time in vain and started reconstructing their homes on self-help basis.

An elder of the area, Janat Gul, said clashes and airstrikes destroyed their entire village and now people helped each other in rebuilding their homes.

The governor’s spokesman, Attaullah Khogyani, said it was planned that reconstructioninfo-icon projects would be launched in the two districts after complete security. He said some projects were underway in secure areas.

Pk/ma

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