Asadullah Khalid, the acting defense minister, travelled to the southern Helmand province on Wednesday, October 14, as clashes between the Afghan security forces and the Taliban militants are underway since last Sunday.
Mr. Khalid met with top local authorities, including Mohammad Yasin, Helmand governor, in Lashkargah, the capital of the province, to discuss security situation, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Defense, today, October 14.
On Sunday, the Taliban militants launched attacks on Afghan security forces in Nad Ali district and Lashkargah. Afghan commandos, backed by US airstrikes, launched counterattacks and pushed the militants out of the city but fighting still continues in parts of the province.
There are no exact figure on causality rate but according to Afghan security officials more than 250 Taliban fighters were killed in latest wave of violence in Helmand province.
The fresh surge in violence has forced 5,100 Helmand families to flee their houses and villages. The displaced families are in dire need of shelter and food, said, Helmand directorate of refugees and repatriation on Tuesday.
On the other hand, early on Wednesday morning, as many as eight government forces lost their lives after two Afghan army helicopters crashed in Nawa district of Helmand. A local authority told Kabul Now that the helicopters crashed in government-controlled area of Nawa.
A deadly surge in Taliban attacks intensifies while a contact group of the Afghan peace delegation and the Taliban negotiators have been meeting daily to hammer out principles for sustentative talks in Doha, Qatar. The two sides have got bogged down in setting procedure and conflict resolution mechanism for substantive talks. On September 12, the Afghan government and the Taliban representatives for the first time in 19 years started direct talks in Doha to discuss a power sharing deal. But progress in talks has been slow.
Meanwhile, six Afghan security forces were killed in Guzargah-e-Naw district of the northern Baghlan province after their outpost came under a Taliban attack, according to a local official.
Jawed Basharat, spokesperson for Baghlan police chief, told Kabul Now that the Taliban militants launched attack on security forces at around 11:00 PM on Tuesday night in Guzargah-e-Naw district of Baghlan. Two security forces were wounded, he added.
The Taliban have not commented in regard to this attack so far.
Calls for peace amid deadly war
Some diplomatic missions in Afghanistan have called on the Taliban to put an end to recent surge of violence in Helmand as deadly clashes between the Afghan security forces and Taliban militants continue in the country.
In a Persian tweet, Dave Metcalfe, Canadian ambassador to Afghanistan, wrote, Taliban attacks on Lashkargah and other places are unacceptable. How can the Afghans trust Taliban words about peace while they cause death and suffering for so many Afghans? Ambassador Metcalfe, addressing the Taliban, said, talk with words, not guns. Stop violence right now.
Ronald Kobia, European Union special envoy for Afghanistan, has said that level of violence in Afghanistan is high. Mr. Kobia has called for action against recent wave of Taliban attacks in Afghanistan.
On Tuesday, Ross Wilson, US Charge d’Affairs, wrote on Twitter that the current level of violence was not consistent with US-Taliban deal. Prior to this, Gen. Scott Miller, commander of US forces in Afghanistan, had said that the Taliban needed to immediately stop their offensive actions in Helmand.
This comes while the Ministry of Interior (MoI), on Wednesday, said that dozens of civilians were killed in Taliban attacks over last couple of weeks. Tariq Arian, spokesperson for the MoI, said that 86 civilians were killed during the last two weeks in multiple Taliban attacks and mines planted by the militants.