Afghanistan: Taliban roadside bomb kills 12 members of family
By Shadi Khan Saif
KABUL, Afghanistan (AA): At least 12 members of a family who were fleeing the raging war in Afghanistan were killed by a landmine blast in the eastern Paktia province, local police confirmed on Sunday as Taliban on the same day said it seized Taluqan, the capital city of northern Takhar province next to Tajikistan.
The police command in Paktia said in a statement that the incident took place on Saturday night in the Sayed Karam district, which borders Pakistan’s Waziristan tribal belt.
According to the statement, the Taliban had littered the main roads with landmines before fleeing the district, and a vehicle carrying an unfortunate family hit one of these mines.
The Sayed Karam district was recaptured by the government forces after a brief fall to the Taliban.
Noor Jan, one of the ill-fated family’s relatives, told Anadolu Agency that three men, three women, and six children from his family were killed in the tragic incident.
“The Taliban have planted bombs everywhere… this is the fate of people like us who are fleeing for safety the areas where fighting is taking place,” he said.
The militant group made no comment on this incident.
Meanwhile, after marching on multiple northern cities, the Taliban in Afghanistan on Sunday said it seized Taluqan, the capital city of northern Takhar province next to Tajikistan.
The group’s spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed shared several pictures and videos of the insurgents hoisting the Taliban flag at the main square in Taluqan, a large and important city, freeing inmates from the prison and entering the provincial administration compound.
“Today, late (in the evening) the center of Takhar province (Taluqan) with all relevant offices (governor’s office, police headquarters, intelligence center, prison and all government installations) are won,” he said in a statement that also instructed fighters not to enter peoples’ homes or make arrests.
Earlier, the advancing Taliban marched on at least three more provincial capitals in northern Afghanistan a day after capturing Sheberghan, the capital of Jawzjan province.
Reports emerging from the war fronts suggested that multiple groups of the Taliban stormed Sar-e-Pul, Taluqan, and Kunduz, the capital cities of Sar-e-Pul, Takhar, Kunduz provinces, respectively, engaging in deadly clashes with Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, as well as pro-government local militias.
Confirming the Taliban attacks in Sar-e-Pul, Hamidullah Baik, a local parliamentarian, told Anadolu Agency that the Taliban have captured the governor’s office, main prisons, as well as other key government buildings.
The Afghan Defense Ministry, on the other hand, claimed to have inflicted heavy casualties on the Taliban as well as foreign militants, including Pakistanis and al-Qaeda fighters in mounting air and ground offensives.
“572 Taliban terrorists were killed & 309 others wounded as a result of ANDSF (Afghan National Defense and Security Forces) operations in Nangarhar, Laghman, Ghazni, Paktia, Paktika, Kandahar, Uruzgan, Herat, Farah, Jowzjan, Sar-e Pol, Faryab, Helmand, Nimruz, Takhar, Kunduz, Badakhshan & Kapisa provinces during the last 24 hours,” tweeted the Defense Ministry.
After taking over nearly 200 rural districts last month, the Taliban launched assaults on major cities, marching on Herat, Kandahar, Taluqan, and Lashkargah, causing panic and anxiety among millions of civilians.
Blaming the Taliban for a bulk of civilian casualties, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) documented an alarming 5,183 civilian casualties, 1,659 killed and 3,524 injured, in the first half of this year, a 47% increase compared with the same period in 2020.
UNAMA also expressed grim concerns over the increase in civilian casualties in mounting air raids by the Afghan forces in populated urban areas amid the Taliban’s advance on provincial capitals.
[Photo: Afghan Internally displaced families fled their homes in Afghanistan’s eastern Kunar province after being attacked by Taliban forces on August 07, 2021. Photographer: Stringer/AA]
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