KANDAHAR CITY (Pajhwok): Residents of Arghandab district of Kandahar province say hundreds of Taliban militants have arrived in the district and have launched coordinated attacks on Afghan forces there.
On the other hand, security forces say they have launched an operation in the district and the Taliban would be soon eliminated from the area.
Arghandab is situated only seven kilometers north of the capital of Kandahar and is considered important for the city from security point of view.
A resident of Chahar Gholba area of Arghandab district, Haji Mohammad Sarwar, told Pajhwok Afghan News that Taliban militants who recently arrived in their area had launched attacks against Afghan forces.
He said the security of the district was at the brink of deterioration at a time when local people were harvesting their pomegranate corps.
“If the situation worsens, the locals would not only lose lives but would also suffer huge financial losses”, he added.
Sarwar asked security officials to take timely measures and prevent a possible tragedy in the area.
Abdul Samad Hottak, a resident of Tabin area of the district, also said that a number of Taliban militants recently appeared in their region and many people left their houses fearing a possible conflict. In some areas, the Taliban have also warned people to move from the area, he added.
Hottak said transportation of pomegranate had been stopped due to fear and the situation could worsen if officials concerned did not take immediate action.
Kandahar police chief Gen. Tadin Khan, who visited Arghandab district to assess its security situation, said that Afghan forces would soon launch an operation in the district to drive away Taliban insurgents.
“Afghan forces are prepared for the operation and we have told them to be careful about the lives of people and their properties”, he added.
Tadin Khan said that the Taliban used people’s houses as their bastions in Joi Lahor, Chahar Ghulba and Babar villages of the district.
However, some local security officials say that the Taliban stationed in Chahar Gholba, Joi Lahor, Nasaran, Barat Kala, Shahinan and some other areas of Arghandab district in the recent few days.
An official, who wished to go unnamed, said that Afghan forces had tactically retreated from the areas and stationed in main bases.
Jamal Nasar Barakzai, provincial police spokesman, said an operation has been launched and it was carefully underway. He said the Taliban were besieged in some areas.
He said nine Taliban rebels were killed and 16 others wounded in an airstrike in Bolan Mountains of the district. He did not provide information about Afghan forces’ casualties in the battle, but a security source told Pajhwok Afghan News that two policemen were killed and six others wounded in clashes.
Khalil Ahmad Mujahid, a lawmaker from Kandahar province, expressed concern about security situation in Arghandab district and said he had shared the issue with the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Defense.
“The Taliban may be planning to threaten the security of Kandahar city from Arghandab and the situation could deteriorate if preemptive measures are not taken.”
The Taliban did not comment on the issue.
Security situation in Kandahar deteriorated after recent Taliban attacks in neighboring Helmand province.
Hundreds of Taliban fighters assembled in Maiwand and Zheri districts of Kandahar after intense fighting in Helmand and Afghan forces have launched an operation in these districts, which is still underway.