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Chaos as thousands flee Kandahar amid Taliban advance

AT News

Kabul: As the Taliban insurgents are encircling Kandahar with their fresh offensive, more than 22,000 Afghan families have fled the city to escape the fighting, officials said Sunday.

Fighting continues on the outskirts of Kandahar as the militants are attempting to seize control of the city with their fresh offensive.

Violence has increased across several provinces including in Kandahar after the insurgents launched a sweeping offensive just days after the US-led foreign forces began their final withdrawal. The Taliban’s deadly assault has seen the insurgents capture scores of districts, border crossings and encircle several provincial capitals.

More than 22,000 families have been displaced in the past one month in Kandahar, said head of Kandahar’s refugee department Dost Mohammad Daryab. They have fled from the volatile districts of the city to safer areas.

And local authorities had set up four camps for the displaced people who are estimated to be about 154,000.

Deputy governor of Kandahar province, Lalai Dastageeri, said the negligence of some security forces, especially the police, has made way for the Taliban to advance.

Moreover, the residents are worried that the fighting might increase in days ahead.

Kandahar, with its 650,000 inhabitants, is the second-largest city in Afghanistan after Kabul. It was the epicentre of the Taliban when they ruled Afghanistan in late 1990s.

The Taliban advances have come with violations of human rights. The Human Rights Watch has said there were reports the Taliban were committing atrocities against civilians in areas they had captured, including in the town of Spin Boldak near the border with Pakistan they captured earlier this month.

“Taliban leaders have denied responsibility for any abuses, but growing evidence of expulsions, arbitrary detentions, and killings in areas under their control are raising fears among the population,” said Patricia Grossman, associate Asia director at HRW said in a statement.

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