Taliban has upped its ground offensive ever since the US has started withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan. For the last five days, fierce fighting has broken out in three major cities in the south and west Afghanistan, namely Herat, Lashkar Gah and Kandahar, as Taliban militants seek to seize them from government forces. According to Hindi daily Navbharat Times, the Taliban, on August 2 (Monday) captured a radio station in Lashkar Gah.
The Helmand TV station, located in Lashkar Gah, the capital city of Helmand province, is operated by state-run Radio and Television Afghanistan. The report suggests that the Taliban have taken over the TV station to broadcast threats and warnings and to also propagate the Taliban’s Voice of Shariah.
Media gagged as Taliban terrorists do not want their injustices exposed
Meanwhile, other media houses have reported that the Afghan information ministry has confirmed that as many as 4 television and 11 radio stations in the city had been seized and has stopped broadcasting after receiving threats from the Taliban. Only the aforementioned TV station had been operating and streaming Islamic programming.
The radio stations were reportedly captured as a retaliation to the US airstrikes, which the latter has intensified against the Taliban in a bid to halt the terrorists’ advances on a number of major Afghan provincial capitals, especially in District 1 of southern Helmand province.
“Terrorists do not want the media to publish the facts and expose their injustices,” the Ministry of Information and Culture said.
Taliban terrorists using civilians as shields
It is also being reported that the Taliban terrorists are hiding in civilian homes and using them as shields. Because of this many ordinary civilians are having to bear the brunt of the Afghan officials. Many such houses where officials suspect the Taliban terrorist might be hiding have been bombed in the past few days. Following these strikes, nine dead bodies and eight wounded were sent to Lashkar Gah’s emergency hospital on Monday.
Herat, Kandahar and Lashkar Gah under seige
Over the past 72 hours, US airstrikes have targeted Taliban positions around the cities of Herat, Kandahar and Lashkar Gah, a senior Afghan security official said on Monday.
While Navbharat Times has reported that as many as seven Taliban terrorists were neutralised in the airstrikes conducted by the US on August 2 (Monday), a report by Hindustan Times said that the Afghan defence ministry had informed that at least 40 Taliban terrorists have been killed in a US airstrike in Lashkar Gah city.
However, the Afganistan defence ministry tweeted on Sunday that as many as 300 Talibani terrorists have been killed and hundreds wounded in operations by Afghanistani security forces in different provinces since Saturday. “254 Taliban terrorists were killed and 97 wounded as a result of ANDSF (Afghanistan National Defence and Security Forces) operations in Ghazni, Kandahar, Herat, Farah, Jowzjan, Balkh, Samangan, Helmand, Takhar, Kunduz, Baghlan, Kabul & Kapisa provinces during the last 24 hours. Also, 13 IEDs were discovered & defused by #ANA,” read the Tweet.
As a result of these clashes, as many as 330,000 Afghans have been displaced and at least 30,000 flee their homes every week to escape the Taliban rule.
Since the US troops began the last stage of their withdrawal from Afghanistan in early May, the Islamic terrorist organisation has seized control of much of rural Afghanistan, but they are facing resistance as they try to capture the provincial capitals.
General Sami Sadat, the Afghan general, who has been leading the battle against the Taliban in the southern province of Helmand, has warned of “devastating” consequences for global security if the Taliban win in their fight against government forces.
Meanwhile, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has raised concerns over the security of civilians, caught between the clash. OpIndia