In a rare trip to Helmand, General John Nicholson, the commander of U.S and NATO forces in Afghanistan, vowed to defeat the Taliban insurgents on the battle fields.
Amid a surge in Taliban attacks on major towns, Nicholson said that Taliban had plotted to seize control of some major Afghan cities including Lashkargah and Kunduz, but Afghan security forces and their foreign counterparts retaliated and foiled plans by the insugent group.
Addressing the Afghan political leadership on Saturday, NATO’s senior civilian representative for Afghanistan Ismail Aramaz urged that the political rift should not impact the morale of the Afghan security forces.
Meanwhile, Nicholson’s visit also came amid the Taliban’s fresh offensives on Helmand.
He said that NATO and Afghan forces will not allow the Taliban to takeover Farah, Trinkot or Lashkagah.
“Since August the Taliban has made seven attempts to take cities in Afghanistan and every one of these attempts has failed,” said Nicholson.
This new development takes place at a crucial time for thousands of people in Helmand who have fled their homes in the wake of recent Taliban attacks.
But, questions have been raised as to why counter-insurgency operations in Afghanistan are moving so slowly?
“Our brave security forces will continue serving the people of Helmand, the Resolute Support forces are also at the service of Helmand people and will stay with you. Air strikes have increased on Taliban targets, we will launch major operations against the movements of the enemies anywhere on this soil,” said Defense Minister Abdullah Habibi.
“We have enough security forces, but we must assure that our forces are used in the right way, I request you to assess programs of the military forces,” said Karim Atal, member of Helmand provincial council.
In addition, the deputy minister of interior for security affairs has said that the role of mafia groups in the Helmand conflict has been quite strong amid significant issues within the police structure in the province.
“You are aware that the war in Helmand has mafia aspects, our opponents and enemies do not want to lose the money they receive from drug smuggling, but regarding police I must say that 90 percent of the police serving in Helmand are from Helmand, this must be asked from the Helmand administration that why it like this,” said Abdul Rahman Rahman, deputy minister of interior for security affairs.
The Taliban which wields some influence in Helmand has been fighting the Afghan security forces in at least eight districts out of the thirteen districts for at least two months.
Insurgents have already overrun some districts in the volatile province and the war is ongoing between the security forces and Taliban in some suburbs of the provincial capital Lashkargah.