More and more Afghan cities are coming under the control of the Taliban. The government in Kabul has little to do with the advance of the Islamists. At the same time, the number of victims is increasing.
Geneva (dpa) – In view of the increasing number of victims in Afghanistan, UN emergency aid coordinator Martin Griffiths calls for the protection of the civilian population. More than 1,000 people were killed or injured in attacks in the conflict provinces of Helmand, Kandahar and Herat in July alone.
“I am deeply concerned about the deteriorating situation,” Griffiths said in a statement from the UN emergency agency in Geneva on Monday.
Griffiths supported the UN’s call for a ceasefire. He also called for safety and freedom of movement for aid organizations in the country.
Successful advance of the Taliban
With the beginning of the official withdrawal of international troops from Afghanistan on May 1, the militant Islamist Taliban launched several offensives. They have since conquered more than 160 of the approximately 400 districts and several provincial capitals, including Kunduz, where the Bundeswehr had a large base for many years.
The 370,000 inhabitants city in the north of the country fell on Sunday after heavy fighting with government forces, three provincial councils and a resident of the German news agency confirm. It is feared that the Taliban will gradually take control of the entire country after international forces withdraw. CDU foreign politician Norbert Röttgen warned of a “disaster”.
As of Friday, the Taliban have been able to capture five of the 34 provincial capitals. On Sunday evening (local time) they also succeeded in the 260,000 inhabitants city of Talokan, also in the north. Since the withdrawal began in early May, the Islamists have launched several offensives. First they were able to make huge gains in territory, especially in rural areas. They now control more than half of the 400 or so districts as well as several border crossings.
Apart from a military base about two miles from the city center and the airport, the Taliban in Kunduz now control the entire city. Government officials have fled there, the provincial councils report. The people of the city had no water or food. They hid in their houses. On Sunday evening (local time) there were again clashes around the airport. Official information on civilians injured or killed was initially unavailable.
Kunduz was of great importance to the Bundeswehr, which withdrew from Afghanistan at the end of June after almost 20 years. Here, German soldiers fought the Taliban for hours. Nowhere in Afghanistan have more German soldiers been killed than in Kunduz and neighboring Baghlan province. Last year, about 100 German soldiers were stationed in “Kamp Pamir” to train Afghan security forces.