Critics claim government has been ignoring the growing problem in Ghazni and Uruzgan in favor of other issues, including elections.
Security Leaders Under Fire Over Ghazni, Uruzgan Crisis
A number of military commentators on Monday criticized the Afghan security institutions for what they described as negligence in tackling the Taliban incursion in parts of the country over the past few weeks.
Analysts argue that in most cases, government officials have been focusing on other business rather than on security – especially in areas where problems were reported - such as Ghazni’s Malistan and Jaghori districts.
“The government should have used all its facilities (to bring the situation under control) but instead it engaged in electoral campaigns; these problems are not important to them,” said university lecturer Faizullah Farahmand.
“If forces are deployed in the provinces across Afghanistan and the provinces receive their own facilities, they can act swiftly from a short distance away whenever there is a threat,” said military analyst Mohammad Agul Mujahed.
But, the Army Chief of Staff Gen. Sharif Yaftali said on Monday that currently a number of high level civilian and military officials are in those areas which have witnessed heavy clashes over the past few days. He said they are trying to bring the situation under control.
“A delegation from the Presidential Palace has gone there and they have direct contact; the head of Uruzgan National Directorate of Security is currently in Malistan, the commander of the 4th Army Brigade is in Uruzgan, a regiment from the national army including commandos are in Uruzgan now,” said Yaftali.
But battles in Khas Uruzgan district of Uruzgan province, and in neighboring Jaghori and Malistan districts in Ghazni province have sparked a strong backlash among members of the public.
On Monday, hundreds of protesters converged in Kabul city center, near the Presidential Palace, in protest against government’s failure to secure these areas.
The protestors called on government to take solid steps towards resolving the problem and securing the districts against the Taliban.
“It is a month that Khas Uruzgan, Malistan and Jaghori are burning in the war and government has not made any effort to carry out military operations in these areas,” said one protestor Roshan Ghaznavi.
“People are fleeing Jaghori in large numbers and have become displaced in other places,” said a protestor from Ghazni city, Habib.
“When the fighting started in Uruzgan, they should have thought about such wars in other districts,” said another protestor, Rahila.
Another protestor in Ghazni, Fazlullah said: “Over a hundred innocent people were killed in Uruzgan and later the war expanded to Jaghori and Malistan borders.”
Last Wednesday the Taliban launched group attacks from a few directions on Jaghori district, one of Afghanistan’s most secure districts in Ghazni province.
Since then, the clashes have been ongoing and spread to Malistan district.
Ghazni has however been extremely vulnerable in the past few months, especially after the Taliban carried out a brazen attack in August on the provincial capital. In a battle that lasted a few days, the insurgents seized key buildings and clashed with security force members on a number of fronts until being driven back in a military operation.
Residents in Ghazni said the situation has still not returned to normal – more than three months later.