The Kabul Times.
Politics

Afghan forces starting operation securing highways

Afghan security forces sit on top of a vehicle as they patrol outside of Kunduz city, October 1, 2015. Afghan troops recaptured the center of the strategic northern city of Kunduz on Thursday amid fierce clashes with Taliban militants, three days after losing the provincial capital in a humbling defeat for Kabul and its U.S. allies. REUTERS/Hamid Shalizi - RTS2ME4

By: Suraya Raiszada

KABUL: Despite growing efforts by the national and international stakeholders to encourage the Taliban group to join a negotiating table, the militants still continue their attacks on the government forces and the people, particularly along the highways.
The country’s security forces have recently started launching fresh anti-insurgents operations across the country, part of which is clearing the key highways from insurgencies.
Expressing pleasure over the security forces measures to conduct the countrywide mop-up, residents of Maidan Wardak and travelers crossing the province welcomed the start of the operation to secure and clear the Kabul-Kandahar and Maidan Wardak-Bamyan highways. Citizens say that when they cross the Maidan/Wardak highways, they face many serious security problems and threats due to the Taliban’s destructive and terrorist presence. The concerns come as Interior and Defense Ministries officials have recently announced operation for the improvements of the highways.
Tariq Arian spokesman of the ministry of interior and Fawad Aman spokesmen for the relevant ministry of defense, while assuring the operations to ensure the safety of highways, said: “Securing the highways is one of the priorities of the security agencies and with the implementation of this plan, our people will soon see improving the security situation will be on the way.”
More than 15 Taliban terrorists have been killed during a military operation by Afghan security forces in the Narkh district of Maidan/Wardak, and Afghan security forces have discovered and defused more than 30 roadside mines on the Kabul-Kandahar highway.
Parliamentarians and residents of Bamyan province are deeply concerned about the growing insecurity of the Kabul-Bamyan highway between Jalriz and Dara Ghorband districts.
“It [pointing to the Bamyan-Maidan/Wardak highway] is connected to Kabul, the capital of the country, and the passengers are facing grave danger from opposition groups,” said one of the passengers on condition of anonymity.
He said the Taliban fighters have been present in parts of the two valleys, making them the most unsafe areas for travelers. Some passengers and drivers on the Kabul-Bamyan highway say that due to increased insecurity, several days have passed and were stuck in Bamyan waiting for the road safety. “Insecurity of the roads leading to the central provinces through Kabul is one of the main challenges for the residents of these areas and the issue has been raised many times to the authorities, while not only received positive result but the situation is worsening day by day,” said the resident by anonymity. With the implementation of various programs to ensure the safety of highways, we will see a significant improvement in road safety, however the officials assured. Meantime, officials from the Independent Human Rights Commission (IHRC) in Bamyan described the increase in insecurity on the Bamyan-Kabul highway as worrying adding that many civilians have been killed in incidents taken place on this highway so far.
Wahidullah, a resident of Kabul who left for Bamyan for something important, but insecurity in Ghorband district in recent days has prevented him from returning to Kabul.
“I have been trying to return to Kabul after four days, but failed due to serious insecurity on the road and the planting of roadside mines by the Taliban, which kills people every day.” According to this passenger, along with the increase in insecurity on the Bamyan-Kabul route, carfares have also increased significantly, because a number of drivers are not willing to transfer passengers, due to they believed low fare on the insecure highways. But security officials said that during several days of clashes between security forces and Taliban fighters along the Ghorband valley, 13 fighters were killed and many others wounded or detained.
“About two weeks ago, Afghan Defense and Security Forces launched a military operation to clear the Kabul-Kandahar and Maidan Wardak-Bamyan highways of roadside mines and the presence of the Taliban in Maidan Wardak province,” said Imam Khan Momand, spokesman for the 203rd Tunder Corps adding the cleaning operation was still going on.

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The Kabul Times.