Members of the Baghlan provincial council on Tuesday raised concerns over ongoing threats by the Taliban against some strategic highways in the northern Baghlan province.
Amid rising violence by the Taliban in the area, council members have said there is an urgent need for government to take more comprehensive security measures to curb the problem.
“The lack of government concentration and in general the negligence of local government have paved the way for the Taliban to launch attacks on Kabul-Baghlan, Kunduz-Baghlan and Mazar-e-Sharif-Kunduz highways. So far up to ten civilians have been wounded as a result of these violent incidents,” said Mohamamd Zarif Zarif, a member of the Baghlan provincial council.
In addition, council members accused the local administration of withholding information from the people. They said despite the fact the Taliban is threatening the lives of motorists and passengers, the local administration is reluctant to stop them from traveling on the roads when clashes are underway between security forces and insurgents.
“We live like hostages; roads towards Kunduz are blocked and there is no security on the route toward Mazar-e-Sharif. War also going on towards Kabul. If they (government officials) cannot secure the people, then they must step down,” said Nadira Nahrinwal, a civil society activist.
Reports from the volatile region indicate that hardliners associated with the Taliban have been disrupting life for people in the town of Kela Gali in Doshi district – where at least one civilian was killed amid the recent spate of violent acts by the Taliban.
“We were working as daily laborers here. Now, neither the Taliban nor government let us work, Taliban shoot from one side and the government from the other,” said a resident of Kela Gai, Sher Ahmad.
Amid widespread clashes by the Taliban, some motorists and passengers from Baghlan have asked government to take steps to improve the security.
“People are faced with enormous problems. The government is really weak at addressing the issue, we call on officials to take steps and reopen the highway so that the Taliban can no longer pose threats to the people,” said Abdullah, a Baghlan resident.
Meanwhile, Baghlan provincial council officials have asked the local administration and security forces to stop motorists from using the highways while clashes are underway.
The provincial council warned that the Taliban has managed to advance close to the provincial capital of Pul-e-Khumri. It called on government in Kabul to break its silence and improve security.
The new development takes place just a few months after the hardline movement made a fresh attempt to gain swathes of territory across Afghanistan’s northern regions.