Taliban Gets Closer to Herat City as Clashes Intensify

Clashes intensified for the third day in southern parts of Herat as Taliban advanced to towards the central parts on Saturday, leading to displacement of hundreds of people.

Security forces said the Taliban is using people’s houses and gardens as a shield, something that officials said has slowed down military operations.

Out of 17 districts, only Guzara and the city of Herat are under the government’s control. Others are held by the Taliban who are trying to move towards the center of the city.

Clashes continued for two days in Malan Bridge in south of Herat city, but Taliban took over the area on Saturday, sources said.

The operation was supported by the Air Force.

“Pakistani fighters are supporting the Taliban in Herat, Farah and Badghis,” Herat governor Abdul Saboor Qane said. “Taliban has planned to attack Herat but they have faced resistance on the outskirts of the city and were defeated.”

Former mujahedeen leader and a senior member of Jamiat-e-Islami party is leading hundreds of forces who fight alongside the Afghan troops against the Taliban.

Khan said President Ghani vowed him on Friday to send reinforcements, but the Ministry of Defense did not pay the required attention in this respect.

“I spoke with President Ghani yesterday (Friday) and he directed the Defense Ministry to send reinforcements. The forces were supposed to arrive last night, but unfortunately, the Ministry of Defense ‘did negligence’ and so far no reinforcement has arrived here,” Khan said.

Herat residents who left their homes due to the ongoing clashes in the southern parts of the city, said the violence must stop.

“Taliban came close to our homes and clashes started. We had no option but to leave our homes,” said Shamil, a Herat resident.

“Do we deserve to be in such a condition? We left our homes. Some of our neighbors have remained, but they will also leave,” said Nasir Ahmad, a Herat resident.

On Friday, Colonel Abdul Hamid, Commander of the 1st Regiment of Zafar 207 Corps, was killed in a clash against the Taliban on Friday evening. He led the war in south of Herat.

The governor of Herat said that Colonel Hamid was first taken as captive by Taliban and then was killed.

On Friday, UN confirmed that its office in Herat was attacked by the Taliban in which one security guard was killed.

A Defense Ministry spokesman, Fawad Aman, said that the office was once again attacked by the Taliban on Saturday.

Taliban has not commented on the statement.