Kabul: Offensive and counter-terrorism operations have been launched by the Afghan army forces stationed in the southern province of Helmand after the end of the three-day Eid ceasefire.
According to the 215th Maiwand Corps, the operation was launched simultaneously in the western areas of Lashkar Gah, Nawa and Nahrsaraj districts. There were clashes on the outskirts of Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand, which has seen intense fighting since the United States began its final troop withdrawal from Afghanistan on May 1, an Afghan military spokesman and a local official said. “The fighting started early today morning and is still ongoing,” Attaullah Afghan, head of the Helmand provincial council, told AFP.
The 215th Maiwand Corps also announced that 21 members of the Taliban, including the military chief of Marjah district, had been killed as a result of security forces operations.
The army command in the southwest of the country also said that these people were killed during the 10-hour operation of the army forces.
The 215th Maiwand Corps says 13 members of the Taliban were wounded in the operation.
The Taliban have not yet commented on the matter.
A three-day ceasefire was declared between the Taliban and the government on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr.
Before the ceasefire, violence had surged in several provinces of Afghanistan — including former insurgent bastions Helmand and Kandahar.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Defense said that 21 civilians were killed and 30 others were injured during Eid days. Fawad Aman, deputy spokesman for the Ministry of Defense, said on Sunday, that the Taliban had violated the ceasefire extensively during the Eid holidays.
The deputy spokesman for the Ministry of Defense added that Taliban attacks had resumed after the three-day ceasefire ended and are underway.
Also, following the establishment of a checkpoint by the Afghan security forces in Arezoo area of PD3 in Ghazni city, a number of the residents of the area staged a protest and demanded that the government forces and Taliban should leave the area.
According to protesters, the fighting between Taliban and security forces in the area started early last year after the establishing of seven checkpoints by the security forces.
They claim that so far, more than 150 residents of the Arezoo area have been killed or wounded in clashes between the Taliban and the government.
The protesters say, about 1,800 houses were destroyed and more than 2,000 families were displaced during this period and the people of the region, who are mostly farmers, have not been able to get any of their land since last year.
One of the protesters said that the government forces responded positively to the protesters demand and are now removing their checkpoints from the area.
In the meantime, the protesters have also started negotiations with Taliban and demanded them to take their fighters out of the area.
Arezoo area is located on the outskirts of Ghazni city on the Ghazni-Paktika highway number 2. The area has witnessed bloody clashes between Taliban fighters and government forces for more than a year. In previous years, parts of the region were under Taliban control, and the group’s fighters used it to attack central Ghazni from time to time.