By Meryem Betül KEBAP
Redacted By Sami BURGAZ
Violence in Afghanistan keeps increasing at an alarming rate while Afghan National Defence and Security Forces and the Taliban are fighting all over the country.
Taliban which has captured swathes of rural regions following the withdrawal of foreign troops have set its eye on the capital, Kabul. Furthermore, recent skirmishes have amplified around Lashkagah, a city in southwestern Afghanistan and the capital of Helmand Province.
According to an official statement, Taliban has seized local radio and TV stations in Lashkagah and has begun broadcasting pro-Taliban sentiments. Moreover, General Sami Sadat, commander of Afghan Army Corps announced that the civilian population must leave the city as the army is planning an extensive offensive against the Taliban. According to another statement made by the government; Taliban has been repulsed from around airports and some other areas in Heart.
“Please leave as soon as possible so that we can start our operation (…) I know it is very difficult for you to leave your houses – it is hard for us, too – but if you are displaced for a few days, please forgive us. We are fighting the Taliban wherever they are. We will fight them … we will not leave a single Taliban alive,” he said.
It is important to note that the government had previously promised to protect city centres against the Taliban. Thus, the prospect of Lashkagah being captured by the Taliban could result in a huge psychological and strategic loss for the government.
On the other hand, as those who pay the heaviest price, the civilians are deeply affected by the ongoing scuffle. Reports indicate that serious human rights violations are betiding in areas of conflicts. The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) had repeatedly called for an immediate cessation of hostilities.
Latest reports indicate that over 40 civilians have died while more than 118 persons were wounded due to the ongoing conflict in Laskhagah. In addition, at least 5 civilians were killed and 42 wounded in Kandahar while thousands have been internally displaced.
Deepening concern for Afghan civilians in #Lashkagah as fighting worsens. Latest reports show 118 civilians injured & 40 killed within last 24 hours as Taliban continue ground assault & Afghan Army attempts to repel. UN urges immediate end to fighting in urban areas. #Afghanistan
“Deepening concern for Afghan civilians in #Lashkagah as fighting worsens. Latest reports show 118 civilians injured & 40 killed within last 24 hours as Taliban continue ground assault & Afghan Army attempts to repel. UN urges immediate end to fighting in urban areas. #Afghanistan” tweeted UNAMA on 3rd of August 2021.
According to a United Nations report; 360,000 Afghans left their homes this year due to the ongoing war. The UN continues to provide emergency assistance for those displaced and has consigned Mobile Health Teams to provide rapid support to people affected by the conflict. Stéphane Dujarric, the spokesperson for the Secretary-General, stated that the current situation would have catastrophic effects.
“The Mission said that the Taliban ground offensive and Afghan National Army airstrikes are causing the most harm, and added it is deeply concerned about indiscriminate shooting and damage to health facilities and civilian homes (…) All parties must do more to protect civilians or the impact will be catastrophic, according to the UN Mission in Afghanistan.”
Nonetheless, the UN building in Herat was attacked on Friday. An Afghan officer was killed and several injured in the attack. The UN Security Council issued a statement condemning this attack and demanded the surrender of those responsible.
“The members of the Security Council expressed their deep concern about the high levels of violence in Afghanistan following the Taliban’s military offensive, and called for an immediate reduction of violence (…)They also expressed deep concern about the number of reported serious human rights abuses and violations in communities affected by the ongoing armed conflict across the country.”