Afghanistan: Clashes in Lashkargah between Taliban, Afghan forces amid US withdrawal

Kabul (Afghanistan): As fierce fighting rages in Afghanistan amid the withdrawal of US and NATO military forces, the Taliban continues to capture territory from the Afghan government forces.

As US and NATO troops withdraw from Afghanistan after a long, bloody but unsuccessful military campaign, intense fighting has started between the Taliban and Afghan government forces.

Under a deal with the Taliban, the US and its NATO allies agreed to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan in return for a commitment by the militants that they would prevent extremist groups from operating in areas they control. US President Joe Biden has announced that US troops will be out of the country by August 31.

With US military forces scheduled to withdraw from Afghanistan by the anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, the Taliban is trying to capture as much territory from Afghan forces as possible in order to strengthen its position at the negotiating table and stake a strong claim in any future government.

Taliban fighters are capturing the main centers of various rural districts of Afghanistan and have intensified attacks on the Afghan forces.

However, Afghan security forces are fighting back and have inflicted heavy casualties on the Taliban on several occasions. 

As the situation in Afghanistan deteriorates with an increase in offensives by the Taliban, clashes continued in key areas of Lashkargah city, capital of Helmand province.

According to Tolo News, clashes continues in Lashkargah city in District 1 near the police headquarters and the provincial governor’s office on Sunday. Security sources said many parts of the city have fallen to the Taliban in recent weeks.

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Meanwhile, Helmand’s Members of Parliament (MPs) said that the city will be out of the government’s control if it does not receive support.

“The fighting has reached District 1 and is 100 meters or 200 meters away from the provincial governor’s compound. Fighting is underway to capture the base in the province and the people are concerned,” Tolo News quoted Ghulam Wali Afghan, an MP from Helmand as saying.

“Clashes are underway near the Helmand governor’s compound, the police headquarters and the NDS office. They will fall if attention is not paid to them,” said Karim Atal, an MP from Helmand.

In the past few weeks, Afghanistan has witnessed a surge in violence as the Taliban have intensified their offensive against civilians and Afghan security forces with the complete pullback of foreign forces just a few weeks away.

According to Tolo News findings, 70 districts, as well as the Spin Boldak border town, fell to the Taliban in July. The government said that 11 districts had been retaken from the Taliban in July, but five of them–Yaftal in Badakhshan, Chakhansur in Nimroz, Malistan in Ghazni, Garmsir in Helmand and Guzara in Herat–have once again fallen to the Taliban.

The findings also show that for just the month of July, 313 civilians and 239 security force members were wounded in security incidents and Taliban attacks. The figures show that 700 civilians and 216 security force members were wounded during this period.

The government said that the Taliban has sustained heavy casualties during this time.

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