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‘Taliban turns civilian houses as strongholds’

AT-KABUL: The Taliban insurgents have turned several houses of civilians into their strongholds in Imam Sahib district in Kunduz province, security officials said on Saturday.

It was four years that the Taliban insurgents have used civilian houses as their military safe havens, TOLONews has reported.

Officials at the Afghan army’s Pamir 20 Division have said that in recent clearance operations more than fifty Taliban’s strongholds in the Imam Sahib district have been destroyed.

“The Pamir 14 operation, conducted since 7th of December, has now ended. Security forces made many advances clearing several villages which were under Taliban rule for past four years,” said Zamari Faizi a security commander in Afghan army’s Pamir 20 Division.

“During the operation security forces killed more than 130 Taliban and wounded more than 50 others,” said Amanullah Ibrahimi, the police chief of Imam Sahib district.

“During the operation 50 of the Taliban’s strongholds which were built in the civilian’s houses, were destroyed and many Taliban’s weapon caches have been discovered,” said Mahbubllah Saeedi, Imam Sahib district governor.

Moreover, during operation, around ten villages that was under control of the Taliban insurgents for the past four years, also cleared and brought under government control.

“Taliban suffered heavy casualties and we have cleared several villages from Taliban,” said Helal Khan an army soldier.

The owners of the houses that the Taliban insurgents used as strongholds say the government should help them.

“Our homes have been destroyed and we are living without shelters. The government must rebuild our homes,” said Allah Gul a resident.

“Taliban made our houses their strongholds and even dig tunnels. We don’t have money to re-construct our houses and we hope that the government will help us,” said Mirdad another resident.

After capturing the area, the Afghan security forces have installed several checkpoints in order to prevent militant’s activities and their comeback. Officials at the Afghan army’s Pamir 20 Division said that after construction consolidation, the second part of the winter operation will be conducted in unstable areas of Kunduz province.

Taliban has rejected the claims, claiming that they have not used civilian houses as their strongholds in the district.

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