Kabul, Aug 10 (EFE).- The Taliban and Afghan forces on Tuesday were involved in strong clashes in at least 11 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces amid an unprecedented advance by insurgents that has brought a large part of the country’s territory under its control.
According to the Afghan Ministry of Defense, in the last 24 hours, clashes took place in the provinces of Nangarhar, Kunar, Logar, Paktia, Paktika (east), Maidan Wardak (central), Kandahar, Helmand (south), Kunduz, Baghlan, and Sar-e Pol (north).
As a result of the clashes, 361 Taliban fighters were killed and 125 others were wounded, according to the ministry’s update that did not specify the number of troops or civilians killed.
Over the past few weeks, the Taliban have made unprecedented gains, bringing six provincial capitals under their control, as well as about 125 of the country’s 407 district centers, while dozens others are under dispute.
Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid claimed having captured more security posts in the last few hours, after the defeat or surrender of government forces.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said Tuesday they have treated more than 4,000 people wounded by weapons across the country in first week of August alone, indicating the level of intensification of the conflict.
“Only in the first week of August we treated more than 4,000 war wounded people in 15 of the 82 ICRC-supported health facilities,” ICRC spokesperson in Afghanistan, Roya Musawi, told EFE.
The wounded people include civilians and members of the warring parties, she said.
ICRC Afghanistan head Eloi Fillion, in a statement, said that they were witnessing “homes destroyed, medical staff and patients put at tremendous risk, and hospitals, electricity and water infrastructure damaged.”
Fillion also urged the warring parties to spare “health-care facilities, medical workers, and ambulances” and allow humanitarian organizations to safely evacuate the injured and assist the civilian population.
Besides the destruction of infrastructure and loss of lives, the escalation of attacks by the Taliban has also led to the exodus of families to neighboring countries, or to those Afghan cities that are still relatively safe.
Afghanistan’s First Vice President Amrullah Saleh has called on humanitarian agencies to attend to the families displaced by the fighting.
“So far we have received applications from 17,000 displaced families (120,000 people) in Kabul city, who are displaced from northern and northeastern provinces of the country due to the clashes and continuous fighting,” Reza Baher, spokesperson for the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation, told EFE.
These numbers can increase significantly in the next few days, given the large number of families on their way to the capital from northern Afghanistan.
The UN refugee agency UNHCR, in a statement, expressed concern at the deteriorating situation in the country, which has caused hundreds of refugees fleeing to neighboring Iran as well as within the country.
It underlined that since the beginning of the year around 400,000 Afghans had been displaced internally, 244,000 of them since May.
According to UNHCR data, Iran has around one million Afghan refugees that have fled the devastation unleashed by the war in Afghanistan. EFE