Taliban Takes Control Of Dahana-e-Ghori In Northern Afghanistan
NEW DELHI: The Taliban militants have taken control of Dahana-e-Ghori district in northern Baghlan province of Afghanistan.
Although there has been no official word on the development, Khaama news agency quoted a provincial council member speaking on the condition of anonymity confirming the incident.
The gain comes after Taliban militants launched a coordinated attack on Dahana-e-Ghori district four days ago, leading to heavy clashes between the militants and government forces in the area. The fall of the district comes after security forces managed to successfully drive away Taliban presence from the area four months ago.
Seperately, Taliban insurgents launched a major attack to take control of the strategic Kunduz city, and fighting continues.
Officials fear that the Taliban are preparing to step up the spring offensive by creating sanctuaries in the fallen provinces.
The latest gains come as the Taliban steps up violence. Last month, twin suicide bombings killed 80 people in Kabul -- in the worst attack the city has seen in over 15 years.
Further, the developments all represent the worsening security situation in conflict-torn Afghanistan. In the first six months of this year, 5,166 civilians were either killed or maimed in Afghanistan, a half-year record since counting began in 2009, a United Nations report published recently shows.
Between January and June this year, the human rights team of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) documented 1,601 civilian deaths and 3,565 injured civilians, an increase of four per cent in the total number of casualties compared to the first six months of 2015, according to the report, titled 'Afghanistan Midyear Report 2016; Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict.'
The total civilian casualty figure recorded by the UN since 1 January 2009 through 30 June 2016 has risen to 63,934, including 22,941 deaths and 40,993 injured.
“The testimony of victims and their families brings into agonizing focus the tragedy of each one of the 63,934 people killed or maimed by this protracted conflict since 2009,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein in a press release.
This year's casualties include 1,509 children, 388 dead and 1,121 injured, a figure Zeid described as “alarming and shameful,” particularly as it represents the highest numbers of children killed or wounded in a six-month period since counting began in 2009. There were also 507 women casualties, 130 killed and 377 injured.
The figures are conservative – almost certainly underestimated – given the strict methodology employed in their documentation and in determining the civilian status of those affected.
It is worth noting that civilian casualties have risen to record levels every year for seven years.
Seperately, there has been indication from Pakistan on its keenness to restart a failed dialogue process between the Taliban and Afghan leadership. This dialogue was Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s key policy, but after several failed attempts, seems to have been put aside by the Afghan government. However, Sartaj Aziz, the foreign policy adviser to Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, told reporters on Friday that the peace talks could resume in the coming weeks.
When asked about the statement, Dawa Khan Menapal, a deputy spokesperson for Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, said that Pakistan still must demonstrate its commitment to the peace process by taking action against militants that launch attacks in Afghanistan. "Pakistan needs to act on the promises it made in the quadrilateral meetings. Unless and until that happens, we will continue to pursue our current stand in regards to peace talks," the spokesperson said (as quoted by VoA).