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Taliban forces enter Kandahar, the second largest city in Afghanistan

ejaz007

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Kandahar residents fear Taliban advance on Afghan city
Thousands of Afghans displaced and many forced to flee to safer places as the Taliban surrounds Kandahar city.

Supporters of the Taliban carry their signature white flags after they seized the Afghan border town of Spin Boldak [File: Tariq Achkzai/AP Photo]

Supporters of the Taliban carry their signature white flags after they seized the Afghan border town of Spin Boldak [File: Tariq Achkzai/AP Photo]
By Ali M Latifi and Abdul Matin Amiri
28 Jul 2021
Kandahar, Afghanistan Last week, Kawsar Sama and her family packed their belongings and got on a flight to the capital city of Kabul. For the 21-year-old and her family, life in the southern city of Kandahar had become dangerous as the Taliban has pushed into the districts surrounding Afghanistan’s second-largest city in recent weeks.
“It’s too risky for people to send their children to school. You’d only go to the market if you absolutely had to, and even then, so many of the stores would be shut. Life had stopped,” Sama said from her family’s temporary home in Kabul.
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She says that even though the Taliban is yet to enter the city centre itself, fighting has come to the districts. Residents Al Jazeera spoke to said this has left them feeling trapped, in constant fear that the Taliban could arrive any day.
For the Taliban, taking full control of a city home to hundreds of thousands of people a month before the final withdrawal of US-led foreign forces would be a big victory, but to the Kandahari people that all-consuming thought is a nightmare.
Navid Amini, 23, has spent his entire life in Kandahar, but he says he has never seen anything like what has been going on in the province in recent weeks.
Afghan Special Forces regroup after heavy clashes with Taliban during a mission to rescue a policeman besieged at a checkpoint, in Kandahar province, Afghanistan on July 13, 2021 [Danish Siddiqui/Reuters]‘It’s chaos’
Like Sama, Amini says each Taliban advance in the surrounding districts exacerbates people’s fear.
“There is war all around the city,” Amini said by phone from Kandahar. On Wednesday, residents told Al Jazeera, there was fighting in four different districts and the Taliban had captured a key commercial building.
Last week, Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report accusing the Taliban of summarily rounding up and executing people believed to work for the government and members of the Afghan National Security Forces.
The HRW report came just after the United Nations issued a warning to all parties to the conflict that they are “tracking the many allegations of harm to civilians” in the province.


The Taliban says it “categorically rejects” the accusations, which it called “propaganda”.
The group went on to say: “We invite all humanitarian and international organisations along with the media to visit Spin Boldak district. We will facilitate their travel and let them prove where and when anyone was killed?”
Dur Mohammad, 42, does not buy the Taliban’s words. He says his nephew, Ahmadullah, who had been part of the police, was taken in the night more than a week ago. He has not been heard from since.

Mohammad says the family was lied to by the group when they first took over Spin Boldak, bordering Pakistan, earlier this month.
He says they sent letters assuring anyone who had worked with the government or foreign forces that no harm would come to them so long as they reported to the leadership and admitted to their “crime”.
“So, we told him to come back. For four days he was fine, then one night they just took him and we haven’t heard from him since.”




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‘Just tell us where the roof is’
However, as the war between the two sides grows more violent, travelling to the districts is proving more difficult.
Earlier this month, Danish Siddiqui, an award-winning Reuters photojournalist, was killed in crossfire while embedded with the Afghan National Security Forces in Spin Boldak. The government blamed the Taliban for his July 16 killing.
But the government too has taken worrying action towards journalists trying to report from embattled areas.
On Tuesday, there were reports that the Afghan government detained four journalists for trying to enter Spin Boldak.
The Ministry of Interior has accused the reporters, working for local radio and TV outlets, of spreading “propaganda” for “the enemy”.
Amnesty International has called for the immediate release of the journalists. “These journalists were returning from Spin Boldak district after investigating about civilian casualties. We call for their release,” the rights group tweeted.



Sama says one does not have to go far to hear of the Taliban’s cruelty, though.
“Even in the outskirts of the city, they come to people’s houses, take what they want and kick entire families out of their homes.”
Zainab, 21, says that her family home, only 20 minutes from the city, was recently raided by the Taliban.
“It was all us women at home when they came storming in, they said, ‘Don’t worry, we won’t do anything to you. Just tell us where the roof is.’”
Zainab said the fighters went straight to the roof, where they started firing on buildings belonging to police with rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and rockets. Their home, she said, had become the target of crossfire between the warring sides.
An Afghan security officer stands guard along a road in Kandahar [Javed Tanveer/AFP]‘This is a dark place for everyone’
Amini says that in Mirwais Mina, a community 15 minutes from the city, residents have noticed a change in the Taliban’s demeanour.
“They’re not the same Taliban as even two weeks ago,” Amini’s friends relayed to him, saying that even in the last several days the nature of the Taliban has changed.
Most worrying is the fact that the fighters have been seen digging and placing wires into the ground surrounding the main roads and civilian areas.
“They have dug bombs into the ground. It’s obvious the civilians cannot even cross a metre to somewhere safer,” Amini said.
Afghan IDP families are pictured upon their arrival at a refugee camp in Kandahar, they fled from the outskirts of the city due to the battle between Taliban fighters and Afghan security forces [Javed Tanveer/AFP]

A recent UN report found a threefold increase in the number of civilian casualties from the use of IEDs. According to the UN, the first six months of 2021 saw 501 civilians killed by IEDs and a further 1,457 injured.

In recent weeks, crossfire has also become a prime cause of casualties in the province.

“Both the Taliban and the government have killed people, whether it’s by mistake or on purpose, they have killed people,” Amini said of what is causing thousands of civilians to flee their homes.

One camp in the city is now home to more than 22,000 internally displaced people who come from the neighbouring districts and provinces. Overall, up to 150,000 people have been displaced due to the war raging in rural areas of Kandahar.

Nasir Ahmad, 24, said his brother, sister-in-law and mother were shot by what he believes to be Taliban fighters.

“They were on a motorcycle on the street with my brother when they were shot during a cross-firing,” Ahmad told Al Jazeera. “My mother was hit in the stomach. My brother has bullet injuries in his back while his wife sustained chest injury.”

Amini, the 23-year-old, says the current situation has changed the way he sees the city he has called home his entire life.

“I see children scream, old women crying. Everything a young man should not see. This is a dark place for everyone. This is not the place you want to live.”

Abdul Matin Amiri reported from Kandahar. Ali M Latifi contributed from Kabul.

 

925boy

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Guys:

1. The city hasn't fallen yet.

2. I believe that Kandahar was a very minor airbase. Probobaly nothing there.
But Kandahar is:

1) A large Afghan city
2) The EPICENTRE of the Taliban movement - it was founded and started there, and most of its top commanders come from there, so it has strategic and highly symbolic value to the Taliban, so they will very likely take the city, its only a matter of when.
 

jamal18

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But Kandahar is:

1) A large Afghan city
2) The EPICENTRE of the Taliban movement - it was founded and started there, and most of its top commanders come from there, so it has strategic and highly symbolic value to the Taliban, so they will very likely take the city, its only a matter of when.

You're right, but I am an absolute fanatic for facts. Also I assume nothing until it has happenned.
 

PakSarZameen47

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Nah she's been barking against Pakistan and has been saying stuff like Pakistan is Israel and that Pakistan steals Afghan culture.
Its the same arguments they've used for >70 years. There's no difference between them and and our Eastern neighbours. Both hate pur existence and both want to annex our lands, and cherry on cake is both falsely blame Pakistan for everything that goes wrong , victim blaming to the highest degree...
 

LeGenD

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The entire 'airstrikes' stuff is overblown in some tweets. There isn't much evidence of it. Over-the-horizon air strikes cannot be relentless but of limited scope. Some high-value targets were struck at most.
 

Patriot forever

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Can you explain the importance of that area and what happens if it falls?
Kandahar used to be the capital of Afghanistan before Kabul. Also the birth place of Taliban. Also historically it is one of the most significant cities more so than kabul.

If they take Kandahar, it will be a symbolic parallel government to kabul. Once they get this legitimacy rest of the country will fall not long after, than the march to kabul.

It is an old saying 'Who ever controls kandahar controls Afghanistan'.
 

Genghis khan1

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Dont fall for the propaganda against Pakistan, they are still present at kabul international airport.
Videos isn’t much clear, but I do not see any drone or B-52. There are bunch of ANA Helicopters and light attack planes. Plus two C-130 with ANA insignia on tail.
I am curious to know where the US is carrying out these Airstrikes from...
There are 3 to 4 airfields in south, some of them were build during the surge and now under ANA use.
 
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ziaulislam

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Also city of Herat as well

Maybe Talibs will offer them protection as well

Talibs lack anti armour and anti air things I heard today they requested from China help in this regard would be interesting how Chinese react
Anti air is a problem
Not anti armour

Lucky for them ANA doesnt has strong armour.
RPG can take care of anything they offer but MI17-24 and gunships are big pain ..


Plus USA seems will continue to use b52 bombers for some time to come

Talis would need to wait patiently if they want to take afghanistan without losses

Once withdrawal are gone and many of aghans taken out by USA for immigration then this may change
 

ziaulislam

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The entire 'airstrikes' stuff is overblown in some tweets. There isn't much evidence of it. Over-the-horizon air strikes cannot be relentless but of limited scope. Some high-value targets were struck at most.
Precesion strikes can be very deadly
I would say most people underestimate it
Single b52 can creare deadly result
The talis crubbled underneath over the horizon bombing with zero USA troops at height of there power in 2001

Hence why they havent made a big move towards cities or concentrated areas where bombing will be effective

B52 have massive range, payload
 

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