Afghan Interior Minister Gen. Abdul Sattar Mirzakwal said on Wednesday Afghan forces are also focusing on securing major highways, cities and border crossings, after the Taliban took nine fewer provincial capitals. of a week.
Mirzakwal, who took over the country’s 130,000 police forces five weeks ago, said the government was supporting local volunteer militias known as “uprising movements.”
“We are working in three phases. The first is to stop the defeats [of the government forces], the second is to join forces to create security rings around cities, ”Mirzakwal told Charlotte Bellis of Al Jazeera, who traveled with the minister to Wardak province in central Afghanistan.
“All these soldiers who have abandoned their posts, we are bringing them back to their posts. The third is to start offensive operations. For the moment, we are entering the second phase, ”he added.
In the past three months, the Taliban have more than doubled their territory and last week began to take provincial capitals, seizing nine on Wednesday.
Mirzakwal said many government defeats were the result of the loss of control of roads and highways.
Many areas need to be air-supplied, and after the United States began to withdraw its forces, the Afghan government lost much of that capability.
“Unfortunately, with their withdrawal, fighting started in 400 regions of the country,” he said. “We have very limited air support, helicopters have been busy moving supplies and evacuating our dead and injured forces. “
Mirzakwal said the central government delegates power to local leaders to recruit and arm themselves within their community to fight the Taliban.
“These people have announced their full support for the president and the government. They will fight the Taliban with government forces, ”Mirzakwal said.
“The international community is worried for the moment about these uprising forces, but all of their members will eventually merge with the Afghan national security forces. “
In Wardak, community leaders from across Afghanistan lined up to pledge support or seek help.
Wardak governor Lawang Faizan said he already had 300 men fighting in a local uprising force, but complained that he could only supply two-thirds of the weapons. He cannot provide the rest with water, let alone money or weapons, he said.
“For several months, people have been waiting for their weapons, but unfortunately the promises I made to these people have not been kept, but there is no doubt about their loyalty and their desire to help”, a- he declared.
The government reportedly launched an initiative called “National Mobilization” in June, arming groups of local volunteers.
“Let it kill”
Thousands of police officers have also given up their posts in recent months, but the government said they were coming back and would be retrained, then redeployed to the field.
They also say 5,000 people have signed up for the police force in the past three weeks and another 2,000 graduated over the weekend.
Fighting between Afghan forces and the Taliban has intensified dramatically since May, when the US-led military coalition began the final withdrawal of its forces – which is expected to be completed by the end of August.
While the Taliban pledged not to attack foreign forces upon their withdrawal, they did not agree to a ceasefire with the Afghan government. The peace talks between the government and the Taliban in Doha produced little results as armed groups quickly advanced on the ground.
The government’s response strategy is gradually taking shape, but its implementation remains difficult and the stakes have never been higher.
“I ask the Taliban to stop their brutality. Let kill. Sit down with love and we should find solutions, ”Mirzakwal said.
“Let’s sit down together and form a coalition government, a government that would be acceptable to all parties. The sooner we do it, the better, ”said Mirzakwal.