Kabul: Local sources in Farah province confirmed on Tuesday evening that most of the areas in the city of Farah, the capital of the province, has fallen to Taliban fighters.
Credible sources told Tolo News and Pajwok News Agency that the National Directorate of Security is currently under siege by the Taliban and there is a clash going on; but other government departments like the governor’s compound and police headquarters have fallen to the Taliban.
Taliban attacks on Farah city began on Monday night and intensified on Tuesday. Farah is the seventh city center in Afghanistan to fall to the Taliban in the past week, after Kunduz, Zaranj, Taloqan, Sar-e Pul, Aibak and Sheberghan.
Meanwhile, India has asked its nationals to leave Afghanistan on Tuesday on a “special flight” from Mazar-e-Sharif – the country’s fourth largest city – amid intense fighting with the Taliban.
“A special flight is leaving from Mazar-e-Sharif to New Delhi.
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Any Indian nationals in and around Mazar-e-Sharif are requested to leave for India in the special flight scheduled to depart late Tuesday evening,” the Indian consulate in Mazar-e-Sharif tweeted.
It asked Indian citizens who want to leave by the special flight to submit the details like their full name and passport number to the consulate immediately. Around 1,500 Indians are currently staying in Afghanistan, according to government data.
Last month India pulled out around 50 diplomats and security personnel from its consulate in Kandahar following intense clashes between Afghan forces and Taliban fighters around the city.
The embassy later put out a security advisory for India nationals visiting, staying and working in Afghanistan to keep themselves updated on the availability of commercial flights and make immediate arrangements to return to India before the flight services are impacted in the area they are staying at. The advisory also asked Indian mediapersons in the country to get in touch with the embassy for specific advice on locations they are travelling to.
New Delhi has been supporting a national peace and reconciliation process that is Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled.
This comes as fighting in the Balkh province escalated substantially, resulting in the fall of a number of districts to the Taliban. Balkh officials said that they reassured the consulates that they would ensure security and protection but that the consulates closed their doors instead. Some politicians in Balkh have meanwhile established a new mobilization council in the province to protect the city of Mazar.
This council, which consists of officials and representatives of the parties, elected Atta Mohammad Noor as the chairman of the council. Noor said the People’s Mobilization Forces were obliged to defend the city of Mazar-e-Sharif against Taliban attacks and to take part in offensive operations to retake lost territory.
Meanwhile, Turkey’s Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) spokesperson Ömer Çelik said that nobody should consider Turkey as a refugee camp, elaborating on recent discussions after Afghans started fleeing to Turkey. “State departments are having talks with all relevant parties. There is a division of roles between state institutions. Turkey embraces people fleeing death. Other than that, we do not allow it to be abused,” he told reporters at a press conference.
“Turkey is not anyone’s refugee camp. No one should think of this region as a concentration camp,” Çelik added. Turkey is not capable to shelter further refugee influx, he said but emphasized that nobody should use “fascist language” while discussing the matter. His remarks came over the U.S. new resettlement plan for Afghans who have assisted the U.S. officials and troops during its mission in Afghanistan since 2009. The plan names Turkey among the application spots for eligible Afghans who want to migrate to the U.S.
In other news, Ministry of Foreign Affairs once again called on the Pakistani government to focus on expeditious identification, apprehension, and prosecution of the perpetrators of the abduction of the envoy’s daughter. The Afghan Government delegation recently visited Pakistan in connection with the abduction and torture of the Afghan Ambassador’s daughter in Islamabad, which had taken place on July 16, 2021.
During this visit, the Pakistani side shared some information and findings with the Afghan delegation on the case. However, the remarks by Pakistani officials pointed at a different version of the case, and unfortunately did not address the basic issues such as how the incident took place and the identification of the perpetrators.
As agreed between the two sides in Islamabad on the first day, the Afghan delegation demanded that the Pakistani officials should share all information related to the case with Afghanistan for further technical investigations. Unfortunately, the information was not shared with the delegation. The hospital and medical reports along with other available evidence clearly indicate that Silsila Alikhel had been abducted and tortured. The Government of Afghanistan, in coordination with the victim, is ready and will continue to cooperate to identify and apprehend the perpetrators.