The Afghan government is under increasing pressure from residents and elders in volatile Helmand and has been urged to expand military action against insurgents in the province.
This comes amid an increase in Taliban activity – in what is perceived to be a move on their part to seize control of the entire province.
Embattled troops are currently fighting the Taliban in Musa Qala, Greshk, Sangin, Marjah and other key areas.
Residents blasted government over its poor management of the war in the vulnerable region, saying that Taliban action has been ongoing for months but that very little solid action has been evident on the government’s part to retake areas already under control of the militants.
They said that the Taliban insurgency has so far disrupted people’s lives and hundreds of locals have been displaced due to the ongoing war.
“Concerns have heightened among residents since the end of the winter, and if the battles continue, Taliban will attempt to bring the entire province under its control and government held areas will collapse,” a resident of Helmand, Abdul Ahad, said.
Amid the controversy, Helmand officials however stress the Taliban will not be able to occupy Helmand. They said enough security forces have been deployed to the area to foil such attempts by the resurgent movement.
“I assure you that Helmand will not collapse. We have deployed sufficient forces in Helmand, however we need to concentrate on the leadership. We are also working on strategic programs and will give the enemy a well-measured response wherever we see them,” governor of Helmand province Hayatollah Hayat said.
Helmand, once a key Taliban stronghold in the south, has faced several rounds of deadly battles over the past few months – after the insurgent group extended offensives against security forces in the area.