Kabul : The war between Afghan security forces and Taliban has severely intensified for the control of the largest province of the country, Helmand. According to sources, Taliban has mounted heavy attacks to capture the provincial capital of Helmand, Lashkar Gah. Along with Helmand, Taliban has also increased its attacks on Baghlan province. The attack on Saturday claimed lives of 11 Afghan police officers.
In the last one year, Taliban has started to increase its influence over Afghanistan. According to a particular report of July 2016 nearly 20% of Afghanistan is under the Taliban control. Taliban has also begun its continual attacks on the southern and north-western areas of Afghanistan, that are under the rule of the Government. By doing so, the Taliban aims to establish its influence over these parts of Afghanistan. The increasing attacks on Helmand are a part of the same strategy.
According to the officials in Helmand, a large part of the province along with the highway that connects to its provincial capital, Lashkar Gah, are under the control of Taliban. Skirmishes between the Afghan security forces and Taliban are regularly being reported in many parts of Garmsir and Nawadi stricts of Helmand province. According to local officials, Taliban is steadily advancing towards Lashkar Gah.
More than 18,000 citizens of Lashkar Gah have started to flee. Taliban has also started the destruction of all the roads, bridges and other means of infrastructure that connects to Lashkar Gah. If Taliban succeeds in seizing Lashkar Gah, there is possibility that the entire province of Helmand will fall in the hands of Taliban, which wouldbe a major setback for Afghan security forces, the US and NATO.
The Afghan local security forces are being helped by Afghan Special Forces as well as American airstrikes in the ongoing war near the capital of Helmand. Due to this, it is said that temporary success has been achieved in keeping Taliban at bay. However, as per the local sources,this situation is not warrantied for a long time. The sources also claim that the lack of communication and co-ordination within the Afghan army and lack of attention paid by the Government, has led to Taliban’s progressing control on Helmand.
The United States as well as NATO officials have seconded the news of the severe war on-going in Helmand. Since 29th July, US Airforce has launched more than 30 airstrikes in Helmand.
A few days ago, US President Barack Obama had declared that the US forces in Afghanistan cannot be withdrawn this year. In the year 2014, President Obama had declared that by the year end only 5,500 soldiers would continue to be posted in Afghanistan whereas nearly 3,300 soldiers would be withdrawn. But President Obama has recently declared that the withdrawal of US troops in Afghanistan will be postponed till next year. Hence, till 2017, some 9,800 American troops will continue to be deployed in Afghanistan.