The UN has estimated that since the beginning of the year nearly 400,000 Afghans have been internally displaced within the country – some 244,000 since May alone.

Internally displaced Afghan women from northern provinces, who fled their home due to fighting between the Taliban and Afghan security personnel, receive medical care in a public park in Kabul
Internally displaced Afghan women from northern provinces, who fled their home due to fighting between the Taliban and Afghan security personnel, receive medical care in a public park in Kabul
(Rahmat Gul / AP)

After spending days hiding out in his home, Habibullah and his family finally managed to flee their village in Afghanistan’s Kunduz province. 

The 38-year-old fled to the southeastern province of Khost with eight of his relatives, as Taliban fighters battled government forces for more territory. 

“The fighting was intense. Many people were killed and many more were wounded. There was no hospital in the area to treat the injured,” Habibullah told TRT World. 

“Many homes were also destroyed in bombardment.”

Fighting in Afghanistan has escalated since May, when the US-led military coalition began its final stage of withdrawal set to be completed before the end of the month. 

The UN has estimated that since the beginning of the year nearly 400,000 Afghans have been internally displaced within the country – some 244,000 since May alone.

The rise in displaced people has increased international calls for pressure to stop the Taliban assault. 

“Markets have been destroyed and are now mostly closed, leaving families without anywhere to get food,” Save the Children group’s country director Christopher Nyamandi said. 

At least 27 children have been killed across the country in the past three days, the group added.

The UN human rights chief, Michelle Bachelet, said that at least 183 deaths and 1,181 injuries among civilians in the cities of Lashkar Gah, Kandahar, Herat and Kunduz alone has been recorded since Monday. 

She cautioned that those were only confirmed casualties and “the real figures will be much higher”.

Hamayon Najmi, 43, and his family of eight, fled from Badakhshan province to the capital Kabul, where he is living the city’s main downtown park, Shahr-e-Naw with limited access to water and food.

READ MORE: Why is the Taliban looking unstoppable in Afghanistan?

He described gunfire and bombardment back home with many caught in the crossfire. 

“Many people lost their lives. Many women and children were martyred. And due to intensive fighting, all schools and markets were closed,” Najmi told TRT World. 

More than 17,000 people from the north have arrived in Kabul in the past two weeks, staying in parks, with relatives or on the streets, Tamim Azimi, spokesman for the state ministry for disaster management, said in a statement.

Arzo, who like many other Afghans goes by one name, said the Taliban would come out at night and start shooting at the government forces.

“As a result, our village was bombed. I don’t know who to blame. I just want to tell them to hear my cry, and stop this fighting,” Arzo said, who fled from the eastern part of Kapisa Province to Kabul. 

“I ask the Taliban to stop bloodshed and start negotiation with Afghan government.”

On Tuesday, the Taliban seized Farah city, the capital of the Farah province, and Pul-e-Khumri in Baghlan within hours of each other.

Since Friday, six other provincial capitals have fallen with the insurgents as they set their sights on Mazar-i-Sharif, the region’s biggest city.

Government forces are also battling the fighters in Kandahar and Helmand.

The US troop withdrawal would be finished ahead of the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks under a deal by the US and the Taliban which said that all foreign forces will withdraw from the country by May 1, 2021, in exchange for Taliban severance of all ties with al-Qaeda and talks with the Afghan government.

The US invaded Afghanistan after blaming the then-Taliban rulers for harbouring al-Qaeda leaders, including Osama bin Laden, who is blamed for the 9/11 attacks.

On Tuesday, US envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad has traveled to Doha, Qatar where the Taliban maintain a political office, to tell the group that a military takeover of the capital of Kabul would guarantee they will be global pariahs. 

He hopes to persuade Taliban leaders to return to peace talks with the Afghan government that has been stalled since past year.

Source: TRT World





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